Best of the Bay
(Wax Poetics, 200x)
Being from a specific place and time is as influential as any other factor that works towards developing a talent. In the case of DJ Eleven, founder of the Local 1200 Crew, the major metropolitan area of the Bay formed his musical likes and dislikes. On this mix, Eleven pays tribute to those that made him the way that he is as well as those that are still influencing his taste. Inconsistent levels contribute to making this album occasionally difficult to listen to. But what’s in-fact more distracting are the selections on this double mix album. Understandably, everything that has come from the Bay in the last decade, Eleven has had some connection to. That’s to be expected, especially if your job is hip-hop. However, going from Latyrx to E-40 is a bit jarring. The resume of DJ Eleven clearly speaks for itself as he is at the forefront of spinning hip-hop parties on both coasts, but creating a mix that flows is a bit different than rocking a party. If someone’s jamming this disc in a car the crowd reaction is no longer a factor. And while it is interesting that he is equally influenced by E-40 and Too $hort as he is by Hieroglyphics, those three approach the game of hip-hop differently. Of course, this mix could become your favorite new disc if all these tracks are past favs, but for those listeners that subscribe to only cerebral styles or more gritty types of hip-hop, this may be a confusing listen.
(Def Jux, 2004)
Without question the importance of Def Jux will only be fully felt in years to come. But truthfully, label boss El-P needs to be a little bit more particular about what is released with the labels’ imprint on it. Obviously, RJD2 and Cannibal Ox are not going to be equaled any time soon, but there have been a few lackluster outings from the label. Fortunately, Rob Sonic is not one of those lackluster outings. I refuse to say that this is groundbreaking genius, but at the same time I will say that from the instant this slab began, it was plain ol’ good. While Sonic maybe an intimidating white gentlemen emblazoned across track after track is more rhythm than melody, which can be said to have been lacking in many hip-hop offerings since the end of the daisy age. Even if the drums maintain a similar pace throughout and sound undeniably electronically produced, they make the album and Sonic himself sound close to masterful. Telicatessen touches on a number of topics, but returns consistently to the claustrophobic nature of living on an overpopulated tiny island. Electric guitar on “Strange Hammer” begins the event that is this slab and continues with some quick keyboard maneuvers on “Super Ball”. Transitions on albums like this are key and a seamless shift between “Dyslexia” and “Riot Ender” is impressive. Reminiscent of MF Doom “Macomb’s Dam Bridge” ends the album (save the hidden track). And if nothing else, the listener can revel in the fact that Mr. Sonic loves his mother.