Listen Up / Streetbox

label: Hazmatic

production: Oddisee, Father Scott, Speaks

year of release: 2004

side one: 1.Streetbox feat. Krayola; 2. Streetbox (Instrumental); 3. Sunshine feat. Speaks

side two: 1. Listen Up; 2. Listen Up (Instrumental); 3. Listen Up (Accapella)
Just last year, Haysoos burst into our collective attention span with a little "Exclusive" 12" (read the review) that included the supreme song "Moving Too Fast". That track was so funky, so funny and so good it was one of the greatest in 2004. After a couple of months, this roughly in the geography of D.C. living cat returns with a new twelve inch and three more cuts.
This time around he steps away from only using The Soulful MP's production - what's not necessarily a good thing though - to have one beat done by MP Father Scott and one by Oddisee (Speaks does the third). So chances are present this will stand the critical test of you and us.
However, we start to kinda wonder what happened to Oddisee. While the beats on "You Know The Half" were just straight up butter gaining him the highest of praise, he's lately offering several 'eehh' efforts. This here "Listen Up" is one of those 'let's make something bouncy that might appeal to more people than our core audience' offerings. It's that with a seemingly misplaced horn and a guitar that never sounded good. They fight against the proper drum programming and Haysoos flowing for flowing's sake. While Krayola's beatboxing is pretty nice, the track "Streetbox" produced by Father Scott really only starts to pick up once the piano comes on. Once that and later some other sounds are present though, this really starts to sound appealing. And Haysoos continues his braggadocio versing and he's good at it.
And finally there's "Sunshine" produced by and featuring Speaks. And finally we get something that we like from the first boom to the last bap. This has a great early The Roots kind of vibe, with a great organ and nicely detailed percussion. Haysoos turns towards including musing, giving us a complete track. That's still not as good as "Moving Too Fast", but shows how Haysoos is capable of doing good songs. Albeit he is never the problem on this record, his beat taste can be his downfall though.
review: tadah
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