I hate starting a review on a sad note, but it would be entirely remiss to review Spitball's "Welcome to Spitsville" and not mention that one of the group's five members passed away less than a month ago. DJ Przm was only 36 years old when he passed away due to long-term heart complications, and in fact Przm had moved to California in hopes of expediting a heart transplant. While his name may not have ascended to the ranks of notoriety of other departed producers like Jam Master Jay and J Dilla, Przm had been rocking beats in the underground since 1999 and had produced classics for Illogic and Zero Star among others as well as his own Spitball crew. It seems the old cliche is true - the good always die young.
Back to the album - the remainder of the Spitball collective are Eclypse, DJ Bombat, DJ Pos 2 and Brulei. That may be more DJ's than even Jurassic 5 had in their prime. At first it's a little confusing trying to decide whether "Welcome to Spitsville" is an EP or an album. There are six tracks listed as the main portion of the presentation, but when seven more "bonus tracks" are factored in this is more or less the length of any full CD off the track. On the flipside it should be noted that six of those seven "bonus tracks" are instrumentals of the first six. Anyway things start out strong with "Making Moves," a track whose hook comes from Charlie Brown's verse in the classic "Scenario (Remix)." I can't tell you who raps first but I can tell you he does an acceptable job rocking the mic to Przm's beats.
"Aiyyo wake up, it's time to make moves and break the fake up
My team gotta eat and cut the steak up, take up the make up
It's time to shape up and ship out the merch
Raw product for the fiends and it hurts
Cause my beats is the truth, go do rhymes in the booth
In the studio from 2 to 10 to 2, with a crew who spit a few
Some shit that you can never do
Don't even try it; I'd rather you just buy it
Stay a fan - and leave it to the pros
And that soft shit you spit you should leave it for them hoes"
"No Back Up" is the track likely to find it's way onto every underground rap mixtape. Przm's layered beat of multiple melodies would be equally at home on an album from Canibus, Immortal Technique or Jedi Mind Tricks; while the blazing all-star collective who raps on the cut includes JFK from Grayskul, Manifest from Greenhouse Effect and Zero Star. "Stab Em Up" is as ugly as the previous track was beautiful, but the beast is still a beauty in its own right. Nasty horns, hard distorted bass and crashing hi-hats are the perfect anthem for cruising down the streets with your speakers too loud, flipping the middle finger at every cop in sight.
"Aiyyo I'm wild-like, a wild writer, burn these on a wild night
Fight the power, I devour the mic
Take a shower like once a week, I'm grungy
Peep the way I get dirty on this funky beat
Chumps be, droppin MPC's and sweatin
When I rep in a cypher ain't a MC steppin
Titties, melons, jugs, funbags
Sometimes even when I'm in the cooch I bust raps"
DAMN!! It's a shame this song is only two minutes and twenty seconds long because it's some seriously hard shit. The same can be said of the methodical and plodding "All Day," with an old school sample promising (surprise surpise) "dick in your mouth all day" while an irate man keeps interrupting the song with threats like "YOU NEED TO GET THE FUCK OUT MY BUSINESS NIGGA!" The first half of the CD closes out strongly with the comedic "Yaaa?!" featuring Meta4ce and the hardcore "Put Em Up" before the instrumental versions take over for the second half.
Spitball has been around in the underground for more than a minute and even before DJ Przm's untimely demise they tended to release records very few and far between. There's nothing revolutionary or groundbreaking about Spitball, and they are probably one of those crews that even if they were more consistent would have a hard time reaching a more widespread level of fame. To be perfectly fair though not every hip-hop record has to reinvent the wheel, and not every rap artist has aspirations to go platinum and chill in a big mansion. Spitball is the epitome of that underground rap crew maybe 1 in 10 of your friends has heard of or listened to, but at least 7 out of 10 of them would enjoy if they were exposed to it. Since we can only speculate on the "what if" had Przm not shed the mortal coil and gone to another plane to make jams with Big L, Mac Dre and 'Pac it's fair to say "Welcome to Spitsville" is an album short on presentation but long on underappreciated talent. R.I.P. Przm.
Music Vibes: 8.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10
Originally posted: July 17, 2007