includes: mf doom, cannibal ox, masta killah, zion i, aesop rock, count bass d, cage, r.a. the rugged man, others.
year of release: 2003
1. M.F. Doom "Bells Of Doom"
2. Vordul Megilah & Carnage "In The Hood"
3. I Self Devine (of Micranots) "I Want It All"
4. Sean Price feat. Mr. Eon "Come On Now?"
5. Zion I "Spinning"
6. Vordul Megilah "Never Gonna Hurt Again"
7. Masta Killa "The Day After"
8. Timboking & RA The Ruggedman "Black & White"
9. Space "Night Breed"
10. Ancient Coins "I Say Yo"
11. Cannibal Ox "Handle That"
12. Aesop Rock "Numb (To The Guns)"
13. M.F. Doom "All Outta Ale"
14. Count Bass D "Dro Grown"
15. Bootie Brown (of Pharcyde) "I Smoke"
16. Space "Earth Girls"
17. Armel & Ancient Coins "The Snitch"
18. Tracy 168 "Old School (Skit)"
19. Cage "Middletown, NY"
20. Timboking & Young Brook "Aloha"
For a producer this must be like the first time a child that wanted to become an astronaut touches a Space Shuttle. It's the first time a teenager drives a car, it's the first time you finally do it. The Prof. gets to do the musical equivalent, when he's producing a whole record (okay, with a couple of exceptions), for a line up of artists that equals the "We Are The World" recording session, in a rap universe.
Considering the current state of hype, it appears to be appropriate for MF Doom to open the record with his "Bells Of Doom". The Prof. takes a lot of hints from what Doom himself would do, as there's movie samples leading up to the verses. The samples might be a little less left center than what Doom would pick, but the music nevertheless gets the typical rambling out of Doom. But as said, there's nothing eccentric about the beat, what puts The Prof. into more traditional waters, what's nothing to be ashamed of.
Even though that also means that we find very little liking about something new, but rather a lot of satisfaction in twists of something present. What can sound as good as the beat on "I Want It All" (produced by Omega One) that has a jazzy horn and a lot of forward direction, or as bad as the song following: "Come On Now". The guitar and other sounds sound as if fallen between two lines of a stave, hence they got an offwhite to yellow intonation. Whenever however The Prof. does something different, like on the gritty and industrial "All Outta Ale", the minimal and most out there "Numb (To The Guns)", the equally minimal but oriental "Earth Girls" or the plain silly "I Say Yo", then the beats really sound proper. These tracks show what he's capable of, what then also puts a damper on some of the lesser songs.
Cause, as much as we get a lot of beats that are doing plenty right ("The Day After", "The Snitch" or "Aloha"), every now and then there's also a couple of songs that keep you indifferent. However, when you listen, you can tell that much of your opinion on the track will change, if you play it loud or if you listen to it many, many times. As this music has a lot of 'grow on you' potential, also when Prof. experiments with some Caribbean influences on tracks like "Black & White" or the lesser "Night Breed".
On the lyrical tip, we can mention the Cannibal Ox stronghold, who offer three songs. They start with two Vordul Megilah solo cuts, one being "In The Hood" (not really a solo cut though, as it also features Carnage) and the other being the better "Never Gonna Hurt Again" (produced by Opto). Here Vordul shines with his twisted and 'behind what's obvious' message rhymes, over a string heavy and squirrel chorus beat. He also sounds kinda Queensbridge on here, if QB can be misused as a style instead of a location. Lastly then there's "Handle That" (produced by Omega One) by both CanOxes. The chemistry of the voices is still magical, but outside of the good twist during the hook and Vast's verse, the beat is more steel worker than Princess Mononoke, and thus fails to truly repeat the wizardry of CanOx's old work.
Add on to that tracks by Cage, Masta Killa, R.A. The Rugged Man, Aesop Rock, Count Bass D, Bootie Brown (of The Pharcyde), newcomers Ancient Coins, Space, Armel, and Young Brook. All of them stick to their guns, i.e. do what they are good at and rhyme in ways and about ways they previously walked. This, without giving anything away, says a lot about the lyrical aspect of the record. And even though we might not like every single song on here wholeheartedly, every other songs makes it up for us. And just looking what Nature Sounds has accomplished and has coming up (albums by Masta Killa, Vordul, MF Doom and R.A. The Rugged Man), there's no respect lost, but a lot of anxiety gained.
review: tadah
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