Thursday, November 27, 2008

Prodigy "Product of the 80's"

Seemingly out of nowhere Prodigy snuck a new album out towards the end of October. Obviously he isn’t around to promote Product of the 80's, but prior to his up north trip he put in a lot of work at Dirt Class studios with production duo Sid Roams – and it had to get heard.

Sid Roams, comprised of Joey Chavez and Bravo, have been making waves for a minute but only in the last couple years joined forces with a unified name and their own lab in NYC to concoct their heavy brand of Hip Hop funk. Featuring hard synths and harder drums these two have created an atmosphere fitting for Prodigy and his partners Un Pacino and Big Twins to spit their tales.

Prodigy “Cold World"

P is P. You can’t really come into this record not knowing what to get. For as long as the Mobb has been around they have been the leaders of grimey QB hood shit. But as the fame got larger and larger and the gap between what they were living versus what they had lived grew they lost their touch.

Signing with G-Unit was suppose to revive them, but instead they phoned in a weak effort (although I’m basing this off speculation – when was the last time you heard Blood Money? That’s what I thought) and got laughed at by pretty much everyone. They remained loyal to 50 and in exchange he allowed Prodigy to roll with Koch for some projects.

Then he got popped. Crunch time.

With the prospect of facing over three years in jail P got on his grind apparently living with a pen and pad in hand and only a phone call away from a session. This is the latest project dropped under his name (I have no idea if it’s the last until his release) and with its theme based around the era Prodigy came of age in, he seems to have taken it to heart as we see a more introspective side of Prodigy on several of the tracks.

The most serious of these would be the Sebb produced closer “Am I Crazy?” where we get to hear P examine himself and all his crazy ideas. If anyone is keeping up with his antics while on lock down I’m sure you have your own answer to this question, but to hear P tell it – it’s a controlled madness. “Stop Stressin” is another demonstration of Prodigy letting us know about his life and his passion for this rap thing, while also addressing the masses who have written him off – let him do him and you do you, it’s guaranteed to work out for everyone involved.

Prodigy “Stop Stressin”

Elsewhere on the disc you will hear Prodigy getting into his political theories, something he hasn’t delivered on wax much but has written some in depth blog posts about since his incarceration. Even with his conspiracy theory rhetoric, he spits with passion and in his trademark delivery that will capture your attention just like he did when he explained the meaning of shook.

Beyond these deviations from the norm, we get a lot of your typical Mobb Deep fare. From the opening “Waddup Gz,” where he breaks out an atypical flow that is as subtle as it is brilliant, we are treated to street narratives galore. Given the albums theme is the crack era much of what is found within these tracks relates to the violence and deprivation present in the communities destroyed by the drug.

Over another stunning Jake One beat Prodigy and Un Pacino explain how they “Shed Thy Blood” all over the block – I can’t say the content is redeeming, but who said it always has to be? Sometimes you just want something you can scrunch your face up to and bang!

This is only one of several appearances from Pacino, and Big Twins is here too. While these names may ring out in the QB, they probably don’t register on your average heads “to check for” list. Twins posses a unique voice that will either annoy or mesmerize, and Pacino? He never does stand out. Their appearances here won’t do much to upgrade their status, but if you want more of that hood shit the QB has never had a problem pushing out emcees to talk about their existence in the largest housing project in the country.

Prodigy ft. Big Twins “In The Smash”

Prodigy might surprise many of you with this joint; he surprised me with some thought provoking verses and a diversification of delivery. But just as with last years Return of the Mac where we saw P backed by a stellar array of blaxplotation era inspired beats courtesy of The Alchemist, Product of the 80s success is largely due to Sid Roams strict adherence to the theme utilizing the sounds from electronic instruments made popular almost three decades ago.

On top of their own tailor made beats, they demonstrate an overwhelming awareness for cohesion as they selected the token beats from other producers here – finding sounds that fit with what they needed rather than allowing another Hip Hop album to come out sounding like a musical whose who of current heat makers.

Sid Roams broke down the entire album for Complex, check it! And they include streams of every track.

If you want to learn more, check out these interviews:
Champ Magazine Online

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