Saturday, October 18, 2008

Statik Selektah... The future

What is going on up in Massachusetts? I’m tempted to call it the new NY! Last year Statik Selektah crept onto the scene with the sleeper giant Spell My Name Right. Filled with an assortment of guests and beats that brought to mind a certain legendary producer who made his name with an emcee from the Bean.

I’m speaking of DJ Premier of course and while the influence he has on any producer trying to do their thing in this game is common knowledge, when was the last time you heard him get on the mic and rep for another beat maker? Primo shows up on the intro, along with Term, to set the record off right!

Rooted with smooth beats thanks to some serious diggin’ Statik has been putting in work for awhile now helping build Termanology’s buzz, and as such expect to hear several collabo’s between the two here. Luckily these two’s chemistry is on par with any number of classic producer/emcee pairing’s and they deliver the goods over and over again throughout the duration of the album.

But don’t worry this album is far from a solo Termanology affair. Never holding down a track for self on the entire album he pairs with big and small name emcee’s here including the likes of Talib Kweli and Consequence on “Express Yourself” the 2008 edition. While Statik maintains the feel of the original (with some excellent chops of the classic Charles Wright record of the same name) he makes it his own with some great cuts on the hook and a more bare bones approach to the beat as a whole.

This minimalist approach works well for Statik, but he is no one trick pony as his beats pull from an array of sounds both familiar and not. Obviously growing up on a steady diet of soul and funk the man knows his records, but he also knows the hip hop history behind those classic breaks and whether he is flipping something original or reimagining an old stand by he does it to perfection.

On the breathtaking “Stop, Look, Listen” we hear Termanology again, this time alongside Styles P and the abstract poet, Q-Tip. No one disappoints and Statik’s use of the Kool & The Gang track (of the same name) is magical.

On “What Would You Do” we see a Philly connect go down between Cassidy and Freeway, while Statik get’s his Kanye on with a sped up vocal sample playing in the background, and some bouncing conga drums that you have to nod your head to. I’m a big Free fan and Cas has always been cause for some suspicion on my part, but dude has been on some shit lately and this is no different.

The record pretty much continues on like that for 21 tracks of that raw and uncut vintage east coast greatness you can’t help but love. Statik pulls a grip of DJ’s together to demonstrate the art of scratching, brings KRS and Extra P together for a track, and spits a rhyme just to let y’all know he doesn’t fuck around with this Hip Hop, it’s in his blood. And what does a producer do when his spirit won’t let him rest? He puts in some calls, gets behind the boards once again and laces us with a second record in less than a year.

Seemingly out of nowhere a video for this track “To The Top” popped up on a number of blogs (I threw it up on the PI one) and featured scathing verses from all three guests. Cassidy (remember what I just above? It’s still the truth), Saigon & Termanology all go in over some high pitched strings and Statik is nice enough to show all these other dudes the right way to use the voice box! Saigon takes the prize of best verse (when does he disappoint?) speaking to the fallen who have helped him become the emcee he is.
You would swear I inherited Tupac’s soul
Both Christopher’s brains
Mindstate of the Roc
Wittiness of Lamont
Spirt of the side walk
Grittiness of the block

If this track doesn’t get you hype then the second one is guaranteed to make you smash something! With a brilliant vocal sample courtesy of Levert and Troop from the opening scene of New Jack City, Statik creates maybe the hardest beat of the year (I’m open to contenders, but this is on another level). M.O.P. and Jadakiss do what they do best repping for their city like only those three can.

From here the record continues to blow minds.

Prior to it’s release I heard some talk that Statik was telling people that he had stepped his beat game up for this go around. Now if you made it this far you know what my take was on the first go round when it came to the beats – them shits knocked! But if that is how they can be described then nothing can possibly do these ones justice. Flat out period this is some of the most amazing demonstration of hip hop production in recent years (No dis Jake).

He makes another trip to Philly here, this time to resurrect the scattered State Property. Over a thumping track P Crakk proves why Quest and Thought added him to the Roots line up. Free and Chris eat up their mic’s and even with their general being MIA this track will get any State P fan salivating for more.

Skyzoo, Joell and Talib break down the chick they are in search for over a soulful beat that continues to show Statik’s Kanye meets Primo steez (Shout to my boy Chris!). The Justus League camp strolls on through with Pooh continuing to show that he deserves just as much respect as Tay and Tay showing us that he’s ready to take out all these so called “singers.”

I could really keep on breaking down every track but by this point you’re either sold or you’re not. If you aren’t then fuck you! Nah, not really, but in all seriousness if you have ever heard a Hip Hop track you have no reason not to enjoy the hell out of this record.

This is why I love Hip Hop.

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