Reviews::A.G. - Get Dirty Radio

If, by chance, you're an early 90's rapper looking to make an album in 06, you could do worse than to copy the blueprint laid out by Andre The Giant's new album, Get Dirty Radio. Well, you might want to do better in the album naming department, and perhaps also avoid the super close up cover photo with you giving the double bird. But otherwise, this is a solid album.

Backtracking slightly, I'll mention that Andre The Giant is A.G., of Showbiz & A.G. fame. Charter members of the DITC posse, it's probably not a stretch to say that Show & AG are NYC hip hop legends. Soul Clap? Fat Pockets? Party Groove? Classic tracks all around. So because of the history, you'd expect A.G. to perpetually rhyme over Showbiz or at the least DITC beats. Well guess what, A.G. doesn't fit in your narrow little box Chauncey.

According to the bio on the Look records site, A.G. met Look owner DJ Design at a show in Germany in 2002 and the plans to record an Andre The Giant solo album were hatched. This was a good move on A.G.'s part, as thanks to Design's connects, the production on the album is handled by some left coast underground heavyweights. A list comprised of Design himself, Jake One, Dabrye, Tommy Tee, Oh No, Madlib, and the immortal J Dilla is certainly nothing to sneeze at.

So how does this melding of golden age NYC MC and modern underground production turn out? Quite good in fact. Andre's a vet, but he sounds hungry and rhymes with conviction on most of the songs. But as A.G. makes abundantly clear on the rollicking Madlib produced opener Frozen, he's still DITC to the core. Show & Lord Finesse both produce a track, so it's not just lip-service. Jake One's Dre-esque pianos on If I Wanna are hard to resist. The slithering bassline Madlib provides for Take A Ride is rather enjoyable, plus Party Arty makes a cameo. Seriously, Party Arty, awesome rap name.

The DJ Design produced tracks, like A Giant By Design and Triumph are intriquing as they have a more electro feel than the others, but A.G. handles them no problem. In fact Triumph features the line "Like Lisa Stansfield, I been around the world", where else are you going to hear a Lisa Stansfield reference in 06?

Love has a stuttering, soul-laced beat from Oh No and some heartfelt lyrics from AG which make it a winner. Gigantic showcases another great beat from Oh No. Hip Hop Quotable is simply a great song, one of the best on here. The banging beat is produced by the legendary J. Dilla and AG flows crazily using classic lines from tons of hip hop jams. It's a song concept that could be cheesy in the wrong hands, but it's executed perfectly here.

The lesson here is simple, if you're an old-schoolish MC looking to make an album in the now, work with talented producers. Great lyrics are important, but weak beats kill good lyrics 9 out of 10 times. Sad but true. So don't work with your neighbors kid who makes beats in his room, unless your neighbour is Madlib Sr. So kudos to A.G. for working with new producers, it seems like it invogorated him, and the result is a quality album. Check it for yourself.

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