Monday, January 26, 2009

Hot Chillin' presents The Juice Crew EP

First off, all props are due to the mighty for the heads up that this even exists.
Robbie over there is a connoisseur of hip-hop old and new, but his love of the mighty Kool G. Rap shines through. The Juice Crew EP features two unreleased KGR and Polo, plus three more unreleased Juice Crew cuts from the vaults of Marley Marl himself. It's vinyl only, with four possible colors and an $80 price tag. Horribly enough, it's probably already sold out, but if you are a fan of the era, you would do well to start trolling the interwebs and trying to find some mp3s of these tracks.

Kool G. Rap and DJ Polo come out the gate swinging with I Declare War. It's a leftover from the Road To The Riches record. KGR sets a formidable rhyme pace from the opening lines and bobs and weaves for almost four minutes, rocking the beat while Polo weighs in with some nasty, nasty scratches. KGR is pretty much unfuckwithable here.

The next track is from Super Kids, who had a young Tragedy Khadafy in their ranks, although back then he was Tragedy The Intelligent Hoodlum. Frankly, I'm not sure how many Super Kids there were, or if any of them were female, but while all of the MCs comprising said Super Kids have skills, their pre-pubescent voices also sound a lot like Roxanne Shante in cadence and register. I actually thought it was Shante the first time. For young kids, though, they come hard. Don't get these kids mixed up with Another Bad Creation.

Now I'm as big a mark for Big Daddy Kane as Robbie at Unkut is for KGR. That's no disrespect to G. Rap, just a statement of preference. KGR is a true rhyme animal, but Kane sets it off on side two with For Your Own Concern, where he simply tears the Marley track the fuck up. Kane is just a beast. He rhymes with swagger and authority over the mid-tempo beat, decimating all rappers in his path and taking time to clear his throat and mock other rappers while he does it. The track was recorded for and left off Long Live The Kane, If you hear this, compare it to anything in the current hip-hop Top 10, then consider the track is over 20 years old and deemed unfit for release. Kane is at the peak of his powers here, but even today in his 50's, Kane is harder and more hip-hop than most of the chumps in the game today.

Coming off the opening track, you would figure G. Rap couldn't have have two amazing tracks that ended up on the cutting room floor, right? I mean, what are the chances? Consider those odds beaten: while a crappier version of this was released previously, Enter The Dragon lives up to it's namesake, kicking ass without mercy for 5 :10. KGR doesn't even seem to pause to take a breath for the duration, but never rhymes fast for the sake of showing off. How anyone can listen to Twista or B.O.N.E without losing their mind is beyond me, although I can give begrudging props to the Ohio contingent's ability to harmonize. I don't want to hear it, but they kinda do it ok. This KGR cast-off is better than either of those crews entire recorded output.

The five songs close with a surprise track from Craig G, who drops some old-school science over some disco-infused boom-bap. It's up there with any of his big singles, but is still one the weaker (ie not Kane or KGR) of the five tracks here. That's like saying that GZA is the fifth best rapper in the Wu, while his rank may be in question, he's still nicer than most, and Craig G still brings it.

While these five tracks are total bangers, $80 seems more than a little ridiculous, but while things are murky in this regard, it seems like maybe Marley is behind Hot Chillin', which takes the moniker from dumb to a pretty awesome fuck you to the Cold Chillin camp. If all this is going in Marley's pocket, more power to him. Makes me think that the limited numbers are an attempt to keep those royalty checks to a minimum, but pop on over here and try and figure out who the mastermind of this is.


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