CNJ Records Compilation 1
label: cnj
mix cd includes: swann notty, prospects heights, chachi, signature, 8th wundah, others.
year of release: 2003
CNJ refers to itself as the premier Rhode Island label. With the smartaleck's response to that being: how many labels can there be anyway? Nevertheless, CNJ roll into town with a self made compilation, featuring their flagship artists on writtens, as well as a couple of freestyles. At the same time, we now declare the producer J.Depina to be one of the major artists on CNJ. As very often he's coming with very good beats. Case in point "Gotta Love It" by Chachi feat. Iceblueyez. The beat goes back a couple of years, as the vibe enters early nineties waters. What's a very good thing though. And it makes Chachi spit verses on good things, optimism, cold reality, keeping your head up, and always finding the silver lining. And here the sung hook even works, rounding out a track that can be the first smash hit for the CNJ imprint.
With Chachi being the one forefront runner of CNJ, the other goes by the name of Swann Notty. And he introduces his skills on "You Know", where J.Depina puts together something slightly chopped, and mainly getting your neck going. Even harsher comes Signature on "Grease Lightening", that features a whole lot of themes, doing a lot of flowing and jumping from this to there. Depina is only giving us a quick frown at the beginning of Prospect Heights "Listen", that opens with a different beat than what carries the track later. And there, the guitar is very jazzy and it makes the emcees stepping up to do good time rhyming for them and bad time moments of shame for the addressed.

1. Prospect Heights "God Made Dirt"
2. Swann Notty "You Know"
3. Prospect Heights feat. L2U "When It's Raining"
4. Chachi feat. Iceblueyez "Gotta Love It"
5. Signature "Grease Lightening"
6. Chachi feat. Swann Notty "Hungry"
7. Swann Notty "4 Steps"
8. Swann Notty "I'll Be Sure Freestyle"
9. Prospect Heights "Listen"
10. Swann Notty / Chachi "95.5 WBRU Freestyle Part 1"
11. Swann Notty / Chachi "95.5 WBRU Freestyle Part 2"
12. Swann Notty / Chachi "95.5 WBRU Freestyle Part 3"
13. Swann Notty, Signature & 8th Wundah "Night Time"
14. Swann Notty "Seein' Things"
On the other hand, 8th Wonda struggles to make his beat on "When It's Raining" interesting, and the crooned hook is also not helping the cause. His beat on "4 Steps" is nice though, with an irresistible guitar, while Swann gives the blueprint to success, plus the struggles. Finally 8th then steps up to the mic, over another well done J.Depina beat, on "Night Time" that also features Swann Notty and Signature. This is the second to last track, with "Seein' Things" by Swann Notty closing the curtains, with more good rhymes, and another good J.Depina beat.
The lyrics talk about a lot of the standards: the struggle ("God Made Dirt" or "When It's Raining" by Prospect Heights, "Hungry" by Chachi feat. Swann Notty), women ("I'll Be Sure Freestyle" by Swann Notty) and the moves of the industry ("4 Steps" by Swann Notty). Then there's the freestyles, the already mentioned "I'll Be Sure Freestyle", but also three parts of "95.5 WBRU Freestyle". This allows us to write the conclusion to the lyrics: They are all well done, well written, well recited. The guys on here have character. While the whole and constantly repeated 'god made dirt' line and micro-flow gets a little annoying, that doesn't take too much away, to secure Chachi, Swann and the others, as strong rappers. They always manage to combine the few blatant braggadocios verses with well pondered reflections on various issues, many of which needed to be addressed.
What then in total makes the whole project shine. With beats that are good, rappers that can bring it in many different styles, CNJ just came with an appetizer that surely makes you look forward to the upcoming dishes. And if Rhode Island wouldn't already be on the map, these kids would have secured it that spot.
review: tadah
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