Monday, October 27, 2008

Mick Boogie & MC Serch Present "The Honor Roll"

On October 6th VH1 aired the fifth annual Hip Hop Honors celebrating some of the best artists Hip Hop has given us over the years. To pay tribute to the honorees Mick Boogie and MC Serch teamed up to deliver the Honor Roll mixtape filled with updated versions of the Hip Hop classics this year’s class is known for.

With Cypress Hill, De La Soul, Slick Rick, Too Short and Naughty by Nature all being members of this esteemed class it’s only right that the king of the mixtape game brings forth another unforgettable tape filled with updated, reinvigorated beats by a strong staple of current heat makers including 6th Sense and M-Phazes and a long list of emcees of every level of stature.

The aforementioned 6th Sense (if you haven’t peeped dude’s debut, stop sleeping!) holds down the majority of the beats never straying far from what the originals were known for he does an amazing job of bringing to life old classics that you may or may not be familiar with.

When first thinking about this project I was a little suspicious of so many young emcees getting on to pay tribute to legends this early into their career, I’m not interested in no egotistical hipster rapping wannabes thinking they are the shit before they’ve dropped an album. Luckily this is a Mick Boogie tape and his ear for talent is as good as they come in the industry right now.

While I’m still not ready for the Kidz in the Hall bandwagon I will give them their respect here as Naledge and Double-O do an excellent rendition of “Children’s Story.” Freeway and Young Chris drop verses over an excellent Kickdrums update of “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” that sounds just as lively and fun as it had to sound when Vinny, Treach and Kay Gee brought it to us 16 years ago.

The Cypress tributes are fun and they chose wisely who would remake what with Evidence and Alchemist teaming up to take “Hit’s from the Bong” and Scram Jones, Joell Ortiz and Loot do “Stoned is the Way of the Walk” to perfection. Kickdrums shows up again for a nasty bounce inducing “Insane in the Brain” with Izza Kizza (who?) spitting nothing special.

While the unknown emcees here aren’t complete trash, they often times are easy to ignore – which should never be the case when remaking classics, either do em justice or leave them alone.

Mistah FAB does a decent job paying tribute to what has to be one of his childhood inspirations in Bay area originator Too Short for the super smooth “Short But Funky.” Fashawn shows up and disproves the theory that all the no name guests can’t spit as him and AB deliver a great update to “Life is Too Short.” Bumping all this Too Short makes me want to go back and hear his back catalogue.

De La are paid due respect here from a number of diverse emcees including Tanya Morgan and Ragen doing an awesome cover of “Breakadawn” and Rapper Pooh, 6th Sense and Butta V rocking “The Bizness” down to the original rhyme scheme. U-N-I are given one of 6th Senses best pieces here for what has to be as much a tribute to the late, great J Dilla (R.I.P.) as it is to what Pos, Dave and Mase gave us when they rocked their first Yancy construction letting us all know the “Stakes is High.”

While the tape serves as an introduction to 6th Sense the beat maker, he is an emcee with considerable skill and while he popped up for a verse to the Plugs, he also delivers the closing cut dolo repping for Slick Rick. Plucking a nasty Jay sample for the hook – “Hey Young World” – is another great demonstration of elevating an already classic to another level. 6th doesn’t try to imitate Slick Rick, and by doing himself he pays Ricky Dee the greatest respect.

Whenever Mick Boogie drops a tape it’s worth checking for, and this one is no different. But beyond the typical freshness we have come to expect from Boog, The Honor Roll tape is incredibly refreshing and fun bringing something to the game that is missing – respect of the elders. Just as I think it’s important that VH1 continues to support those who helped make this culture what it is today, I think it’s equally important that this tape becomes a annual tradition regularly filled with the dues that need to be paid to those who came before us.

Get the tape here!

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