The Scribbling Idiots hip-hop collective (JustMe, Cas Metah, Elias, Mouf Warren, MattmaN, ReFlex the Architect, Theory Hazit, Wonder Brown, MP Ancient, Sebastian Hochstein, and Ruffian) has been on a consistent grind, dropping release-after-release to the point of what would be oversaturation if not for the quality. Whether in solo albums are some combination of group members, the collective’s musical aesthetic is rooted in a devotion to the sound and style of ‘90s hip-hop. Common once almost prophetically rapped “this ain’t ’94, Joe, we can’t go back” with a message for the culture to evolve. Evolution is all good and well-needed, but there’s still a niche for dated styles and accompanying fanbases, especially if those styles hold more appeal than current ones. To that end, two Scribbling Idiots (JustMe and Cas Metah) put their heads together for a joint album: “The New ’93.”
It’s a ten-track album with a different producer for each, though Simple Cuts is behind the boards for two of them. Speaking of which, it’s his production which kicks off the album in the form of “Mad World.” I was initially thinking of the Tears For Fears song of the same name and, right on cue, JustMe references them in his verse. It’s worth noting that most of the production contains DJ scratches and samples courtesy of Tobotius of Animal Crackers. “Irreplaceable” already elicits notions of Beyoncé from the title alone, and it bears similarities in the topic: Relationships, specifically showing the confidence to get one started as JustMe, Cas, and guest rapper Cappadonna all spit verses envisioning individual scenarios of approaching women who interest them over Temper’s piano-driven beat. Anno Domini laces the epic-sounding towering “Blast Off” which features an assist from Tragedy Khadafi, who provides a verse proving his status as a seasoned vet.
Also, for comparative measure, Cas Metah is a Columbus native and has a voice and rasp to it which reminds of Massachusetts-raised emcee Terminology. JustMe is a California native with a flow dipped in east coast rap traditions, even down to his voice as he doesn’t seem to have a west coast drawl to his. But they’re not bad together, and should show more lyrical chemistry via tag-teaming rhymes. “Make Waves” has 2DEEPBEATS providing steel drum snares over an airy sample and keyboard loop. Planet Asia has a guest appearance here and delivers a tongue-twisting verse with stand-out lines such as, “Assassin with the blade catch a niggas fade / It’s a rapture on the stage when you capture these grenades / You’ll be a fossil once they really understand the gospel / El Chapo with chopped cheese in the taco.” The album’s posse cut is “Kung Fu Movie Villain” featuring Aceyalone, Mouf Warren, Blast Mega. Produced by HZA/B. Hard Productions, it’s quite the head-nodder and string-driven. Overall, it’s Mouf Warren who had the best verse with his sharp rhyme schemes and nasal cadence. The fifth single, “Part Time” is produced by Scarebeatz and is about the ups and downs of being a rapper who already has a primary occupation:
The album’s closer is D1’s remix of Make Waves, and all that’s different is the background sample and, therefore, can’t touch 2DEEPBEATS’s version. The three preceding tracks include “No Rights Left” produced by Sebastian Hochstein. JustMe has good wordplay (“Your rights left when they rewrote your leftovers / It’s not fake but your hot take was reheated / If you ain’t running on E, then you defeated”). On Simple Cuts’ second and last cut on the album, “Raining Indoors”, emcee Aztek the Barfly drops the heavy load first, though Metah has a good point with his rap “There’s no honor, no respect, no benevolence / We all have character flaws, but bearing them ALL for the world isn’t humility, it’s arrogance.” Finally, at “Breaking Point”, they feature D1 on the hook while fellow guest Motionplus drops a politically-laced voice first to convey his arrival at his own breaking point. Cas and JustMe follow suit over the hazy beat produced by Theory Hazit. On the whole, “The New ‘93” isn’t new at all. In a sense, it harks back to Just’s line from “No Rights Left” when he spat “…rewrote your leftovers / It’s not fake but your hot take was reheated.” Though meant as a battle rhyme, the inherent statement can be applied to the album as well. But despite the ancient aesthetics which abound, “The New ‘93” still holds more weight than its two-star modern contemporaries.