hip hop music

January 30, 2004

Capsule Review: Chops "Comin From the Lower Level"

"Comin From The Lower Level'
Chops feat. Phil The Agony, Ras Kass, Talib Kweli

Chops of the Mountain Bros. assembles a tight, bouncy beat, with a Scott Storchy mix of faux-classical synth runs and tympani. Nice cuts in the chorus, and especially at the end when he scratches up each emcee's name. Provides a perfect springboard for the bicoastal all-star lineup, who each comport themselves well, except maybe Phil Da Agony who gets off some good lines but sounds like he can barely keep up with the beat.

There are ways to rhyme "off-beat" that enrich your relationship with the track and make your flow feel even more propulsive (see Kurupt), and ways that just make you sound like ass (see Master P). Phil is veering towards the wrong side of that line here, though he never quite crosses over. Ras Kass, as always, brings a flow beyond reproach, and punchlines that make me chuckle even when (or maybe because) they sound foolish: "I f*** with hoes from videos, not india arie.."

Kweli used to swerve into that Master P lane on occasion himself, but he has tightened up his game substantially over the years, and rounds things out nicely here. He does lose 0.5 super-rap-geek points for the "stack papers like Isis" line, which was used ten years ago by KA of Natural Elements. Probably a bit more timely when KA dropped it (for all you youngbucks, it's a reference to "The Isis Papers" by Frances Cress Welsing).

Posted by jsmooth995 at January 30, 2004 2:01 AM

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