Mental Combat 910
Tuesday, 27 May 2008
Now as for someone else who has been around for just as long as the Blastmaster and also gives props to graffiti writers on nearly every album is Masta Ace. He’s managed to keep a respectable career chugging along releasing quality albums without prostituting himself by jumping over cheap beats from anyone who waved a grip of notes in front of his face. I can listen to Ace for days on end without becoming bored. His last two albums A Long Hot Summer and Disposable Arts are up there with his earlier work, so it proves that it is possible to keep up with the times. Well now he’s managed to hook up with some younger cats to form EMC and drop the album The Show (M3/Traffic/Shogun). The new kids are Wordsworth and Punchline and the lesser known Stricklin and they fit like a glove into the same style that Ace has grafted for himself over the last 20 years. As per usual with Ace there is a theme running through the skits and this time it’s a narrative that describes a grinding tour with all manner of obstructions and difficulties. It definitely gives the album an endearing feel that matches the tone of the songs included. It’s a joy listening to all these MCs playing with words and creating inviting scenarios within their lyrics. There’s no time wasting or carelessness within each stanza. These guys all know the true concept of a mic manipulator. The Croatian kid Koolade, Canadian lad Marco Polo, Belgian fella Nicolay join US producers The Are, Ayatollah and Quincy Tones and all manage to create tracks that sit comfortably together. We don’t have to suffer listening to a varied array of stylistic interpretations that rely on signature sounds, besides it’s a lyric based album. No club bangers on here. It’s just 100% solid hip hop that never seems to get any airplay anymore. Some might call this style outdated, but as far as I can tell there are people like me who lap this shit up with no complaints. I guess the depth of skill and talent that is contained within is just not enough for them to crossover while Soulja Boy is on the charts. But with competition like that there really isn’t any point. The whole album is top stuff, but I like the dedication track and the intro words for U Let Me Grow in which they serve up heartfelt words to their mothers. It’s kind of weird to hear the now estranged Paul Nice as the tour promoter Adam. Ladybug Mecca, Little Brother and Sean Price all drop by, as does DJ Eclipse who provides the cuts. One of the albums of the year.