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Mental Combat 910

Author: Blaze
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
The days of when KRS One releases an album and everyone takes notice have been gone for over a decade, yet he’s still managing to unleash an album or joint venture nearly every odd year and, well, most are unmemorable. Even last year’s team-up with Marley Marl fell way short. The irony of Kris and Marley together was not lost on many, considering that Juice Crew member and Queens resident MC Shan had a running battle with Bronx located Boogie Down Productions. The rivalry had finally dissolved, but had the new partnership created the super duo- Nope. One look at the five minute photoshop cover and I thought this would be a travesty. Hmmn, not quite, but the excitement has definitely gone. KRS has been one heck of a confused MC over the years, but at least he continues to affect his lyrics with some kind of content that is overwhelming positive and knowledgeable.  Sadly this new album Adventures in Emceein (Echo-Vista/Shogun) contains 20 new tracks, but would have made a nice four-track EP. Production wise I’ve never heard of any of the beatmakers on here, but there are a few guests, er only one worth mentioning, like MC Lyte on the decent tune Money. Ridiculous smoke blowing intros from Chuck D, Nas and Just Blaze prove pointless. There’s some complete shit on here like the S-Five vocalised Don’t Give It Up and Watch This and another two rubbishy tunes called Over 30 and Alright. Which is far from it.  Totally annoying keyboard junk. There are a couple of decent tracks, but I can’t be arsed going through the CD again. I was bored. All I can remember is that KRS brings his corny Jamaican patois back for a passable Don’t Get So High and that’s about all I can really say. For completists only.

Now as for someone else who has been around for just as long as the Blastmaster and also gives props to graffiti writers on nearly every album is Masta Ace. He’s managed to keep a respectable career chugging along releasing quality albums without prostituting himself by jumping over cheap beats from anyone who waved a grip of notes in front of his face. I can listen to Ace for days on end without becoming bored. His last two albums A Long Hot Summer and Disposable Arts are up there with his earlier work, so it proves that it is possible to keep up with the times. Well now he’s managed to hook up with some younger cats to form EMC and drop the album The Show (M3/Traffic/Shogun). The new kids are Wordsworth and Punchline and the lesser known Stricklin and they fit like a glove into the same style that Ace has grafted for himself over the last 20 years. As per usual with Ace there is a theme running through the skits and this time it’s a narrative that describes a grinding tour with all manner of obstructions and difficulties. It definitely gives the album an endearing feel that matches the tone of the songs included. It’s a joy listening to all these MCs playing with words and creating inviting scenarios within their lyrics. There’s no time wasting or carelessness within each stanza. These guys all know the true concept of a mic manipulator. The Croatian kid Koolade, Canadian lad Marco Polo, Belgian fella Nicolay join US producers The Are, Ayatollah and Quincy Tones and all manage to create tracks that sit comfortably together. We don’t have to suffer listening to a varied array of stylistic interpretations that rely on signature sounds, besides it’s a lyric based album. No club bangers on here. It’s just 100% solid hip hop that never seems to get any airplay anymore. Some might call this style outdated, but as far as I can tell there are people like me who lap this shit up with no complaints. I guess the depth of skill and talent that is contained within is just not enough for them to crossover while Soulja Boy is on the charts. But with competition like that there really isn’t any point. The whole album is top stuff, but I like the dedication track and the intro words for U Let Me Grow in which they serve up heartfelt words to their mothers. It’s kind of weird to hear the now estranged Paul Nice as the tour promoter Adam. Ladybug Mecca, Little Brother and Sean Price all drop by, as does DJ Eclipse who provides the cuts. One of the albums of the year.