Catchy hook, complex rhyme scheme, danceable beat, someone rhyming words over it in rhythm, DJ's screaming in the background; so many different quirks have affected what the masses believe should be in a "good" rap song. With all of these unwritten, technical requirements, it seems in the process of trying to gain, something was lost. Soul was replaced with formulas; science for art. Producers could simply fulfill most of that criterion and almost deafly make a successful rap song. Meanwhile, the Golden Days of hip-hop consisted of the most fundamental aspects of the music: MC, break beat, DJ. Within that simplicity was some of the greatest hip-hop ever to bless ears.
This CD nods its head to the more simplistic days. When a good song was a good song because it made you feel good, or even sad; either way it made you feel it. It wasn't because the way the hi-hat skips every 3rd note or the intricate rhyme scheme that tries to decorate stale content. This album uses the simple guidelines from the past: dope MCs, dope beats, raw cuts from the DJ, and in this special instance, the X-factor being remixes. Produced by BT, mixed by Rob Swift, and featuring the MC, Invisible, we're shown that new dogs can use old tricks.
The album kicks off with Invisible, the resident MC of the record, spitting over his producer's striking strings and deep piano riffs on "Peace to Brooklyn." Rob Swift cuts the hook up with memorable lines from Kweli, P-Monch, and Dilated Peeps.
J-Live's "Satisfaction Remix" takes a darker turn under BT's fingers, but the lyrics don't stop as J steadily drops socially conscious lines until you won't be satisfied with the state of things.
Dead Prez's "Hip Hop Remix" is overrun by spaced out guitars that sound like they could've been on the "ATLiens" album. Although it might not quite match the original liquid bassline, the new beat holds it own and even makes the MC's flow a little smoother.
"For the Kids in the Streets" by Invisible is perhaps the best completely original song on the album. The chilled electric guitar riffs bounce off of the head nodding strings, which only magnify Invisible's GZA-like flow.
Big Daddy Kane even shows up on "The Man, The Icon Remix." BT couldn't have hooked him up with a better background as Kane laces the mystically smooth pianos with silky braggadocio.
Whether it's the ballroom pianos on Mos Def's "Mathematics" or the hypnotizing voices and guitars on "The Way Remix" by Black Moon, its clear BT isn't asking for attention in the game; he's taking it.
On the last song "Lies" Invisible spits a section that could sum up this project:
"Niggas is mad, hating on the kid
Grabbing their dicks instead of going out & doing their thing
Some people just scared to succeed
And when they fail, they blame everyone but themselves
That's the funny shit
I can't stand it
A lot of ya'll be acting like funny kids"
Music Vibes: 8.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10
Originally posted: April 12, 2005