includes: el-p, aesop rock, rjd2, murs, c-rayz walz, hangar 18, cage, the perceptionists, rob sonic, others.
year of release: 2004
1. Words From Phase 2
2. Aesop Rock "All In All"
3. Carnage "Make News"
4. The Perceptionists "Medical Aid"
5. Rob Sonic "Dyslexia"
6. Hangar 18 "Beatslope (El-P Remix)"
7. El-P & Camutao "WMR"
8. Despot "Homesick"
9. S.A. Smash "Devil In The Hole"
10. 4th Pyramid "Aquatic"
11. Murs "You're Dead To Me"
12. C-Rayz Walz "Jello"
13. El-P feat. Cage "Oxycontin Part 2"
14. Aesop Rock "No Jumper Cables (DJ paWL Remix)"
15. Hangar 18 "Take No Chances"
16. RJD2 "Clean Living"
These pages here have been praising Definitive Jux. Then time has moved on, Definitive Jux has released a couple of, uhm, different releases, and honesty demanded to give Definitive Jux some slack. And man did that create a little ruckus.
But that was then and this is now. And this is actually the third installment of "Definitive Jux presents…" and we consider it to be a state of the union address. The next couple of months will obviously include more albums from the well respected Definitive Jux roaster as well as a couple of 'ey, who?' We might as well start out with one of those: Carnage. He keeps the lyrics on "Make News" on some gritty material, leaving no weak emcee unturned or unscarred. NASA combines these battle verses with the appropriate dirty beat, while on "Words From Phase 2" he created something rather soft (and good).
Def Jux then moves outside of the US of A when they invite 4th Pyramid to the compilation. He does "Aquatic" and we're not thoroughly impressed. His album (read the review) contains a lot of interesting beats, but it was without rhymes. Here he rhymes though, letting Richie Malevolence do the decent beat. We're not that mad though, as his last offering on the C-Rayz album was severely boring. So what about his words? Oh well. First he has a very slurring way to say words. Second he tries to portray himself as on of these super mystical dudes, running through a couple of obvious standards. Additionally to that he's just simple in his rhyme pattern, and so you wonder what kind of Def Jux quality standard this is meeting.
You might want to count Despot to be a newbie too, even though he has been on past Atoms Family releases. But he's a débutante to Def Jux, and so is Arcsin - the guy who did the beat. His also premiers on this compilation, even though that is not by choice: he was supposed to be on El-P's album, as he produced the original "The Nang", what then couldn't be used due to sample clearance. This "Homesick" beat is getting really eerie and has an uncomfortable undertone, but also a scratching vocal sample that is completely unnecessary. Despot furthers the haunted feeling with out-of-sanity verses, stepping out of the society accepted culture, moving and speaking in indirect but eloquent ways.
Arc returns again on "Jello", the C-Rayz Walz track and together they created a great song. C-Rayz enjoys and uses a lot of space over the beat, while the beat creates a very solid basis for one of C-Rayz best appearances of late, as he sounds strong and comfortable, with all the struggling and uncomfortable content he chooses to recite. Arc meanwhile puts a drugging twist on synthesizer greeks, offering fact to all the appraisal fiction.
Just considering the mere name, The Perceptionists and Hangar 18 are new to the team too. But in the first case, the two members are Mr. Lif and Akrobatik, so at least one is a Def Jux alumni. Their "Medical Aid" is a good advertisement for their upcoming album, as it includes a good Fakts One beat and the proper verses to go with it. As for Hangar 18, that's a product of the Atoms Family and Alaska, Wind-N-Breeze and paWL are down and have been down. But if you expect 'phoenix' type lyrics from these guys, you're at least a couple of species off. Just like The Perceptionists (or S.A. Smash for that matter, who get the song "Devil In The Hole" on this compilation), Hangar 18 show how much the styles of Definitive Jux have widen. They are your funny uncles more than your brooding uncle. They are clever but also silly. And their romancing on "Take No Chances" just sounds good.
As for Aesop Rock, RJD2, Rob Sonic, El-P and Murs: they all get their songs on here too, with the El-P collaboration with Cage offering quite a surprise though: the vibe on "Oxycontin Part 2" is almost cute for the two, as Belief created something incredible tender. But it fits 'em well. Aesop does what he does best (even though over a surprising beat in the case of "No Jumper Cables (DJ paWL Remix)") and Murs again gives us a good song despite the angry content with "You're Dead To Me".
So what now? Well, if this compilation is a summary of the now and next, then we'll have to get used to a Def Jux where we will like and enjoy a lot, but not everything. It will be very interesting to hear the records of their pillar artists, and see how they compare to what was. But also to hear what the new faces are cooking in their pots. Just don't be surprised if both are blowing you away. (Or not, for that matter.)
review: tadah
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