various artists :: Duke Da God Presents Dipset: More Than Music, Vol. 2 :: Koch Records
as reviewed by Matt Tomer

Dipset is an interest bunch, to say the least. They've faced terribly negative criticism from two polar extremes: the backpacking, conscious commune that won't listen to anyone with a diamond necklace, and the bloodthirsty G-Unit fan boys that would literally eat Cam'ron if 50 told them to. But, of course, it goes both ways. Just down the street are the religious Dipset jockstraps who'd holler "KILLA" at their grandma if she dared question Jim Jones, and the equally aggravating hipster crowd who swear rhymes like "High heel dooby feel, plus got them Gucci nails" are masterfully crafted works of surreal art. The haters will hate, but their fans are as faithful as anyone's in hip-hop, even if recent sales would suggest that even their most loyal aren't above downloading.

A couple dozen beefs and highly questionable political commentary aside, Dipset stays on the grind. With their remarkable ability to churn out mix tapes on display, they drop "More Than Music, Vol. 2." All in all, it's generally what fans have come to expect from the New York collective: high-powered, synth-driven, often sample-based but commercial-friendly beats, and song after song of being the ballinest and thugginest dudes around.

At their best, even the haters will have a hard time denying that Dipset knows how to make a catchy song. "Suga Duga" is a dash of Cam'ron's elementary school rap that still manages to get you interested, with the same upbeat soul that made hits like "Hey Ma" and "Oh Boy" as fun as they were. Strangely enough, the playful beat was produced by the normally grimy Lil' Fame of M.O.P. "Dipset City" follows in the same vein, sounding like a computerized version of Led Zeppelin's "Fool in the Rain." The title track, with its super subtle guitar and wood clacks sets up Juelz Santana to slice through the track like a sharpened ginsu blade, but his verse on "Gladiators," which is roughly fifteen seconds, is lazy and stupid as fuck.

Hell Rell's hustle raps on "Pharmacist" aren't as grandiose as he'd like them to be, but it's a big step up from "Anniversary," where Jim Jones' pathetic attempts at anything result in a steaming pile of garbage. "Getting By" sounds like cheerful Just Blaze minus the awesome, with one of the most grating choruses I've heard in some time. And there's something especially ridiculous about interpolating the Christmas classic "Carol of the Bells" on "Sometimes." I know nursery rhyme beats are topping the charts nowadays but c'mon. And don't get me wrong here, I love Kat Williams as a comedian. I can even tolerate his continuously reprised role of the ridiculous five-foot pimp, but putting a microphone in his hand might have been the dumbest thing Jim Jones has done since he grabbed one himself.

"More Than Music, Vol. 2" actually covers a good deal of ground. "Gun Shop" thumps heavily, while "Feelin' Myself" is mesmerizing and soft. Lyrically it's pretty much Dipset, but "Show & Tell," which features little-known A-Mafia and Tom Gist, is an honest, open book into their world of "crime is the only way," the kind that hipsters are bound to cream themselves over. Killa!

Music Vibes: 6.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10

Originally posted: May 15, 2007