It’s been nearly eight years since Michigan-raised, Maryland transplant DJ Illogik has released a full length LP. His fourth album, “beginningofsomethinG.old”, was a planned compilation featuring several subterranean emcees, most of whom brought their A-game to coincide with that album’s theme. With “Time and Tenacity”, he’s expanded his Focus Records label and has clout to recruit known underground luminaries for his latest outing (such as Apathy, Skyzoo, and even D.I.T.C. members). FLEXVCL returns to provide the majority of the production, and there’s one production inclusion which is both surprising and not surprising all at once (I’ll explain later). While my customary analysis of each track will soon be underway, I’d like to note that Illogik is one of the few DJ’s able to bring several disparate rappers together while engaging in minimal self-promotion (as opposed to sometimes being annoyingly excessive ala DJ Clue or the late DJ Kay Slay).

As stated, the album is produced mostly by FLXVCL, starting with the album opener “T&T Intro”. Deep drums along with instrumental samples, and Illogik’s scratching make it a head-nodding, non-filler intro. The first emcee to bless the mic is Detroit-based Journalist 103 on “Diamonds”. FLXVCL laces the track with a lo-fi classic rock sample with record scratching on top of it. Jamil Honesty and Rasco reunite as the Cali Agents on the piano-sampling “East 2 West”, in which the former’s verse shows why he’s the more prolific of the two. New Jersey’s Artifacts make a (mostly) posthumous appearance on the single “Soulful Business”. Produced by Paranormal, the boom-bap production that Tame One’s vocals are laid over is a testament to how missed both he and his raps are:



From the South Chicago trio The Grates, we get “Bent Pins”, a Silis101 production with atmospheric piano keys and a Big L vocal sampled scratched into the hook. The underground of New York City and Detroit collide on the smooth-as-R&B Isaac Leo-produced “Together” in the respective forms of A.G. and Finale. On “Breaks Over”, DJ Illogik takes a direct role thru a Skyzoo/Open Optiks (consisting of Illogik and Maryland emcee Ak iLL) collaboration. FLXVCL’s production takes an eerie, mystic-like turn as Skyzoo mans the first verse. For his part, Ak iLL stands toe-to-toe with Sky’s raps, and he steps to the challenge, bringing his A-game when working with prolific emcees such as Skyzoo.  With “Pisces”, Illogik brings in Baltimore rapper Jay Royale and Connecticut emcee Apathy to spit over unadulterated boom-bap. Ap brings his tongue-twisting battle rhymes while Royale spits his own brand of the same.

“Vortex”, by Boogiemonsters rapper Vex is about how he’s the “living Hemingway” over  a bass-laden non-traditional hip-hop track. The album consists of several singles designed to promote buzz, some of which have been mentioned already. But the second-to-last one is “Behind the Curtain” by Substance810. On another note, the timing of “Time & Tenacity” is perfect considering that season three of hit Detroit series “BMF” was recently released. Though the connection is purely coincidental, it was worth mentioning, nonetheless. For the production, FLXVCL manipulates acoustics and multi-tracked vocals for an instrumental that’s as much urgent as it is declarative. “Malefaction” by Ty Farris & Eto is marked by the guitar riffs in the production and by the emcees’ dedication to their grind. J. Scienide raps over the Jamil Honesty-produced “Enjoy Your Weekend”, consisting of a menacing beat reflecting his aggressive raps. Before, I mentioned a track that I was/but wasn’t all that surprised by its inclusion. Well, here it is, “Days of Our Lives” by Ak iLL, FLXVCL, & Jamil Honesty. But what’s the surprise? The D’s own Apollo Brown was behind the boards. Though the track is quite somber, Illogik enlisting Mr. Brown is a testament to his pull in hip-hop:



The title track by Bad Seed & El da Sensei is a decidedly bluesy Foulmouth production, and El da Sensei displays his status as hip-hop equivalent fan-favorite a la Eric Roberts. On “Dope Ain’t Enough”, by The Lyricists, there’s bass, drums, piano keys, and an impressive flow from the group. Closing out the album is “Voyage” by Rudy Will and J. Scienide, which is more fast-paced compared to the customary boom-bap of the other tracks. With “Time & Tenacity”, DJ Illogik shows that what he does indeed takes time. Though, it’s been eight years since his last release, he’s now got both the reach and grasp for his artistic endeavors. I didn’t expect him to enlist underground hip-hop heavyweights like Apathy, Skyzoo, and Apollo Brown for the same album, but he did. With “Time & Tenacity”, DJ Illogik has proven that hip-hop is a labor of love, where progress pays off eventually in some form.


DJ Illogik :: Time and Tenacity
8.5Overall Score