“Yo yo yo God.”
Three seconds into Channel Live’s “Armaghetto” the album sounds like a Max Caster rap. All we needed was for Tuffy or Hakim to say “Listen! Listen! Yo!” It’s a shame that the track Mike City produced for “Respect This” is so flavorless. “It’s like drinking ten shots of Henn rock.” That’s true — either one will put your ass to sleep. There’s none of the spark of “Mad Izm” to be found here. If you’re asking who Channel Live is or what I’m talking about though I don’t blame you. I’m going to be blunt (pun intended) here and say this group’s best work was in 1995 when they did a duet with KRS-One. They managed three full length albums in their career, but “Armaghetto” was not the peak of their run, and mediocre singles like “Wild Out 2K” reflect hip-hop’s indifference to them in 2000.
Mike City’s production simultaneously rips off both the overused “Rocky” horns and the sound of other East coast acts at the time like The L.O.X., Capone-N-Noreaga or Big Pun. It’s absolutely unoriginal and the album version only makes it worse by having some obnoxious women scream over the end of it. Unfortunately the album only goes downhill from there. Everything winds up being a shittier version of a better song. “The Nerve” might as well be Black Rob’s “I Dare You.” “Turn It Up” makes me wish Sean Price and Rockness Monstah were spitting the bars. “F.A.T. (Fucking A Thug)” attempts to differentiate them the competition by having the rappers portray both sides of a bad relationship, but Chuckie Madness turns in such a boring beat that the skits are more interesting than the track.
It’s not until 11 tracks into the album that things genuinely get interesting. Channel Live produces their own track for “Ghetto B.I.” and Method Man provides the opening verse, and both create a more memorable moment than anything else “Armaghetto” has to offer. It’s still not enough to justify owning the album, but you could buy this song a la carte and be satisfied.
The worst sin that Channel Live commits on their sophomore album is that they seem bored with the very music they set out to make. There’s a palpable air of disingenuous intent from track after track, as though Hakim and Tuffy are going through the motions out of contractual obligations. It’s hardly surprising that the album didn’t hit the Billboard charts or that “Wild Out 2K” peaked no higher than No. 48 on the Hot Rap Singles. There was so much better on offer in the year 2000 and from the sound of it Channel Live knew it too. Don’t bother with this album.