label: halftooth
includes: wordsworth, kenn starr, talib kweli, j-live, phonte & big pooh of little brother, kev brown, asheru, grap luva, oddisee, others.
year of release: 2004
1. Oddisee, Kenn Starr & J-Live : Quest To Find
2. Kenn Starr : What Up
3. J-Live : Who Do You Call
4. Phonte & Big Pooh : Long Time Coming (Makin Moves)
5. Oddisee : Yes Y'all
6. Smash Mechanics : Concrete Steps
7. Kenn Starr : Walk The Walk
8. Wordsworth : Here We Go Again
9. Oddisee : Brother
10. Dash : In The Middle
11. Kaimbr, Cy-Young & DJ Roddy Rod : Everyday Campaign
12. Oddisee Interlude
13. Oddisee & Kenn Starr : This Is Hip Hop
14. Dash : Life To Live
15. Kenn Starr, Asheru & Talib Kweli : If
16. Oddisee Interlude
17. Kev Brown, Grap Luva & Oddisee : Keep On
18. Quartermaine, Kenn Starr, Dash, Oddisee & Wordsworth : You Don't Know The Half
19. Ish Lab Outro
Does rap really need another label? Well, according to the people of Halftooth, it sure does. And this is the record to prove it. And quite cleverly, "You Don't Know The Half" introduces their own artists on a record that also features well established favorites. Which are sure to attract many more listeners to this project. So you get a mixture of 'who?' and 'hey' appearances, but on the surface, neither of the two manages to stand out, or fall off.
The first song is one of those where the two shake hands. So Oddisee (who's also the main beatsmith on here) and Kenn Starr (another Halftooth artist) team up with J-Live to do "Quest To Find". They however don't find much world changing material to talk about, but instead have a good time introducing themselves, their intentions as well as the vibe of this record. Which is carried strongly by retro-beats who remember the beauty of a good horn sample and piano line. And when you got J-Live to rhyme, then it can not go wrong. That's also why his "Who Do You Call" is one of the best songs on here. And he puts himself in the position of the man to save the day, while the chorus choir joins him in the praising.
Further down, Kenn Starr teams up with Asheru and Talib Kweli on "If". And putting that song on, it'll take you about two seconds to find out why this was picked as the first single. The beat is incredibly dope, a little melancholic, but it still gets your neck going. And the three emcees rhyme about the if there were no 'ifs', on some "if it wasn't for a mic check, I wouldn't have a check at all" scenario. Two more tracks down the line, Oddisee teams up with Kev Brown and Grap Luva on "Keep On", over a dope drum line and more samples to make the song thick. This is funny though, as Brown really doesn't sound too motivated, even though he tries to motivate us. This can't take away too much from the song though, as it's still getting us to bounce.
We could also mention the good (almost) Little Brother track "Long Time Comin' (Makin' Moves)" where Phonte and Big Pooh rhyme, could mention "Everyday Campaign" by Kaimbr, Cy-Young and Maspyke's DJ Roddy Rod, but we don't. Because we wanna get to the Halftooth artists' tracks. So move to track eight, to check out Wordsworth, who's actually preparing an album for Halftooth. "Here We Go Again" does base its beat on old school elements, while Word rhymes quickly, spitting observational verses. Both the beat and the lyrics are quite clever, resulting in a good advertisement for the album. As good is Dash's "In The Middle" (and later on his jazzy "Life To Live"). The beat is again honing some old school vibes, keeping itself bare. Lyrically Dash is just repping, but he has a grin in his voice. Kenn Starr's "What Up" benefits from a very nice retro-beat, just like the team up of him and Oddisee "This Is Hip Hop". The drum is really dope on here, the keys are kept low in the back and the two reflect on their chosen art.
Therefore, if this compilation is any indication of what's to come from Halftooth, then yes, we do need another label. Not any other label though, but this label. As on 19 songs they show a love and respect for rap, that is promising, good and will have us impatiently wait for more.
review: tadah
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