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Friday, September 21, 2007

Reviews:: Special Teamz - Stereotypez

Normally at this point, for a crotchety old hip hop guy like myself, an album like Special Teamz debut offering, Stereotypez, would simply be too many z's to deal with. So why this review then? Well although this is Special Teamz debut offering, they certainly aren't new to the game. This team is composed of Boston hip hop royalty, starting with the legendary Edo G, Jaysaun from The Kreators, Slaine from La Coka Nostra, and DJ Jayceeoh. Now I'm not trying to sell the contributions of Jaysaun or Slaine short, but it's Edo's presence that had me checking for this album.

Can you blame me really? Life of a Kid in the Ghetto was one of the albums I played the most during my youth, and songs like I'm Different, I Got To Have It, Be A Father To Your Child, and Bug-A-Boo are pure classic. But that's in the past, and Special Teamz is now, and what is the Special Teamz story? Well despite being 3 very talented MC's, the Teamz are made special in another way because of the makeup of the group. Considering race relations have been strained from time to time in Boston, it might've been unlikely even a few years ago for a hip hop group to be comprised of a Black guy, a Puerto Rican dude, and white guy from Southie. However, that's the case with Edo, Jaysaun, and Slaine respectively, and I'd say that's a good thing, but in the end it's the music that counts, so let's get to that.

I usually hope that when you've got a golden age legend involved with an album, you're going to get a serving of that classic straight-ahead hip hop. With a couple exceptions, that's what you get on Stereotypez. Young Cee, who produced 5 tracks on the album, provides the boom on the opening Get Down in the form of a nice thick beat full of horns and scratches, and all the MC's attack the track and make a good first impression. "We throwbacks like Backlund and Volkoff" - when you break out the Bob Backlund and Nikolai Volkoff refs in the first song, I have to think we're headed in the right direction. The title track is produced by another Coka Nostra member, Ill Bill, and is a nutty look at all the stereotypes that are still around to this day, but I'm actually not sure if it's promoting them or trying to disprove them. There are some good lines ("Blacks don't watch hockey, they don't know about a hat-trick"), but I feel too weird listening to the song to enjoy them.

Boston To Bucktown features the Teamz new label mates Sean P and Buckshot as well as Pete Rock manning the boards. It's not the best PR beat I've ever heard, but it's pleasant enough, and Edo leads off sounding vintage:

10 out of 12 is a dime a dozen, there's nothin' we disscussin', it's hate like Chechnyan and Russian, the beat's heat, got Pete on production

That is good stuff. Devin The Dude makes a cameo on Long Time Comin', which is propelled along by a catchy bassline provided by producer Xplicit. One Call is produced by current hot underground producer, and Toronto native, Marco Polo and is the perfect match for the battle rhyme steez that all 3 MC's excel at. In fact that might be one of the only beefs I have with the album is that it's a little one dimensional as far as the songs go, with most of the lyrics of the battle rap variety. But all the MC's are solid, and the quality of the lyrics is quite high, so it isn't a big problem. Cutting a few songs to concentrate on the best of the best would've helped in my opinion, and I would've left off the rap-rock screamer Gun In My Hand that features Jamey Jasta from Hatebreed, but that's just my opinion.

I've often said that hip hop fans from the golden age should make an effort to support new projects from our favorite "back in the day" MC's, especially if they're putting out a quality product, and I think that's what we have here. So it's no surprise that Duckdown Records would go outside their camp to put out this album, as Special Teamz make the kind of real hip hop that you associate with the home of Black Moon, The Bootcamp Click, Buckshot, Sean P, and Smif & Wessun. If that sounds good to you, then check for Stereotypez when it drops September 25th.

MP3:: Special Teamz f. Devin The Dude - Long Time Coming

Posted at 8:24 AM by naedoo :: 0 comments

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