Push Comes To Shove

production: Madlib, J. Dilla, Oh No, Just Blaze

guests: Oh No, Baby Sagg, J. Dilla, Dudle Perkins, Diamond, Poke, Noelle.
year of release: 2005
Serious feat. Oh No
Whut U In It 4
Can’t Hold On
Special feat. Noelle
The Offering (Interlude)
Hold Your Breath
Now U Know feat. Dudley Perkins
Pressure feat. Diamond D & Poke
Never Saw It Coming
12. So Real
13. Never Give U Up
14. Mary J (Interlude)
15. Get Back
16. Listen 2 This
17. Yeah
18. Nightlife feat. Noelle
  Can’t Hold On
Stones Throw records is somewhat of a family affair. While Peanut Butter Wolf is from somewhere further up north, the Oxnard massive is more or less taking over the label. That also as Medaphoar, or MED, is finally getting his solo album out. He already impressed folks with his guest appearance on the Madvillain album ("Raid"), he is on one of the best songs on the second Quasimoto album, and with the odd song and appearance here and there, the buzz should be big enough for folks to at least know who we're talking about here.
Now add to that the producer line up of Madlib, J. Dilla, Oh No and Just Blaze. Yes, Just Blaze. Apparently Stones Throw has enough money to hire platinum-plus hitmaker Just Blaze for "Get Back". And damn this is, it's just, damn it's, it's fire. Hot. Supreme. Dope. Give this to any darling-of-the-masses emcee and you'd have a super hit at your hands - says me who's one that's been heard saying 'Just Blaze is overrated.' And he is. But this song is good. MED doesn't even need to do much - and he doesn't - to make this one a dope tune.
So yes, folks are drooling all over the producer line up, while in actuality not everything they do bumps as much as everyone likes to pretend. Especially J. Dilla is oftentimes a fishy producer. Thus the two tunes he did "Push" (including a guest appearance by the man) and "So Real" must stand to special scrutiny. With "Push" we do hear a certain strong attempt to adapt to a gameplan of making Stones Throw better known outside of the used-to-be-called backpacker circle. There's this little keyboard in there, an excellent bass and drum production, and an overall minimalism oftentimes favorite by Timbaland and Lil Jon. Heck MED even urges the ladies to 'work that thang.' "So Real" is definitely something different: there's an openness if not even bigness to the beat, with all instruments and elements exceptionally well programmed, to result is something more impressive underneath the superficial surface. And for the record Oh No produced the unspectacular "What U In It For?", and "Never Give U Up". This one is a nice, soulful little tune, that's meant to lure Ms. Mary Jane, along with the sun and good vibes and times. As for the rest, all songs were produced by Madlib.
MED's rhyme style can actually easily annoy though. It sounds as if he has to force every word up, kinda coughs his rhymes, and the high pitch tone, is like a tame little drill, that's not always treating your ears very kindly. That's to put it to the worst of descriptions. In actuality this gapped kind of flow allows him to really build the words around the rhythm and match 'em quite perfectly to the surface.
And thus there's many songs that are good on here, with MEDs honorable rhyming on songs like "Can't Hold On". This includes an irresistible bassline and an interesting choice of sample for Madlib. There's another truck rattling bass on "Now You Know", while there's Diamond D and Poke on the proper "Pressure". And this is one of those albums that will sound better the more you listen to it.
So the bad parts about this records are songs like "Hold Your Breath" (and "Special" is kinda overproduced) or the recurring sense that this is actually trying to blow up. It's not selling out as the styles found on here are still well done and don't blatantly dumbed down commercialized for the masses. But there's still just an overall impression of 'lets make this a big release' intention. What actually wouldn't be a bad thing, cause if songs like "Yeah" get radio play, it would be worth turning on the radio. But don't be surprised if some purists will frown, while your usually-doesn't-know-better little brother will suddenly stand in your door asking who the hell this dude is.
review: tadah
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