Compilations, Soundtrack Albums

Compilation/Soundtrack Review – State Property

Year of Release: 2002

Record Label: Black Friday/Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam

It’s been a while since I have done anything for this website. I believe that because I have been listening to a particular artist, or at least a couple of them, I am going to start on something that I have been meaning to do.

Also, this will probably be an experiment in doing multiple categories. Why? Because though this album may have been the soundtrack to the movie State Property, which I covered a while back, as well as its sequel, this was also a compilation to showcase some of Beanie Sigel’s affiliates from Philly. Then again, this was also around a time when record labels put out compilations that disguised themselves as movie soundtracks to showcase what the label had to offer. Also, because later on, there was a second volume called “State Property vol. 2 – The Chain Gang,” which wasn’t even a soundtrack to the second film (The album was released in 2003; the second film was released in 2005), this would also be unofficially referred to as “State Property vol. 1.”

I am getting a little ahead of myself here (Note to self: cover vol. 2 in the near future). It’s time to start critiquing the album.

The album kicked off with its lead single, “Roc the Mic” from Beanie Sigel and Freeway. The beat was rather infectious as it will draw you in the moment you hear it, especially with the beat from Just Blaze.

Of course, the lead single was what kicked it off. This isn’t the only song that the two collaborated on, and I don’t just mean the tracks that have multiple artists on them. I mostly meant with just those two, as they teamed up on the Kanye West-produced track, “Got Nowhere,” which is a hidden gem. This was before Kanye did an album and way before he became a tabloid sensation. Even with a lot of the stuff that surrounds him, you can’t deny that he is a great producer.

So what does the rest of Beans’s crew have to offer? Well, let’s see. One thing that should be noted is that Beans appeared on the majority of the tracks on this album. Freeway appears on multiple tracks himself, but at the time of this release, he wasn’t really all that known, except for appearances on Sigel’s “The Reason,” which came out months before this, and before that on “The Dynasty: Roc la Familia.” Even then, some of the other rappers on this compilation had stuff to offer, but with them being not-so-well-known at the time (Though the Young Gunz had their time to shine later on, as they released not just one, but two albums), it seemed that what to draw was the beats.

Some examples where the beats were weak include “Do You Want Me,” the compilations resident dirty rap track, but the synth beat just didn’t work for a song like this, nor did the addition of the synthesized voice in the chorus. Also, Zukhan’s beat for “Sing My Song” just felt like a slow beat mixed in with some lyrical delivery that either sounded lazy or maybe Oschino and Sparks were high when recording them.

So what are the positives on this? Just Blaze’s beat for “Bitch N****z” brought a lot of energy to that track, along with the team-up of Beans and Sparks. Also, “No Glory,” which happened to be one of two solo tracks that were on this album. Also, I can’t help but think that “Why Must I” did a decent job at doing a different interpretation of “Atomic Dog” from George Clinton. The same could be said about “No Glory” with its sample of George Byrd’s “I Cry.”

The only other solo track on this album was Freeway’s “International Hustler.” Right from the get-go, he delivers some dope bars. It’s like you really feel some of Free’s energy in his delivery.

This was actually a decent compilation that Roc-a-Fella had put out to showcase some of what Philly had to offer. I know that this was the second time mentioning Philadelphia, but really, these guys were from Philly. With the exception of the singer Rell (who was from South Carolina), all of the rappers were from Philly and they were all one whole group. There were no appearances from Jay-Z or Memphis Bleek, or even Amil. I also must note that this one of the examples of the soundtrack being better than the movie, though I am a little open to giving that film another chance because I think I was hard on it when I reviewed it a while back. Though this compilation screams early-2000s (And it’s crazy to see how different this whole decade was compared to the 2000s now with the 2010s drawing to a close), it still holds up.

3.5/5

Top 5 tracks:

  1. Roc the Mic
  2. International Hustler
  3. It’s Not Right
  4. Hood I Know
  5. Got Nowhere

Honorable Mention: Sun Don’t Shine

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Compilations

Compilation Review – Christmas Rap

Year of Release: 1987

Record Label: Profile Records

Merry Christmas, people. Here I am in my final review for this year’s Christmas/Holiday special. I couldn’t get some albums that I was thinking of reviewing in time, but I did get this one in time, however, so I figured why not close it out with a bang.

This may be the oldest album that I have reviewed thus far, and I know it won’t be my last, either. I also believe that this may be the very first Christmas-themed hip-hop album. So let’s get to it.

The first song on this album is “Christmas in Hollis” from Run-DMC. This may have been one of the better known Christmas rap songs. Hell, it was played inĀ Die Hard, which was fitting in some areas depending on which way you look at it. Run-DMC were definitely big in the 1980’s, and it was actually a catchy tune that could get you in the spirit, especially with the lyrics in the song. I am not sure if I could say the same thing about the following track, “Let the Jingle Bells Rock” from Sweet Tee, however. I am a little unfamiliar with her and while she didn’t do a bad job in her delivery in her song, the lyrical content was a little more to be desired. For example, part of the chorus, which went, “What? You didn’t know didn’t know Christmas went hip-hop? Check the clock, and let the jingle bells rock,” got a little old fast. It wasn’t terrible, but it got repetitive. Though I will say that she did well in the delivery of her rapping.

As far as others go, one that was actually decent was “Dana Dane is Coming to Town,” from, you guessed, Dana Dane. I know that a lot of people had said that he bit Slick Rick’s style back in the day, not to mention that he used a fake British accent, despite the two being friends, but regardless of that, he still did a good job on the song. It was a silly track, but it’s definitely one that stands out in some ways.

However, the rest of the album is filled with some people whom I had never heard of. One track that kind of got my head bumping was “Christmas in the City” from King Sun-D Moet, which had an interesting sample of “Silver Bells” in the beat. He didn’t do badly on the lyrics, either. The same could be said about “Chillin’ with Santa” from Derek B, which had a sample of “Jingle Bells.” It was a fun track. However, “He’s Santa Claus” from Disco 4 was another track that had a “Jingle Bells” sample, but it had more of a synthesized beat to it and it was kind of cheesy.

Then you had some tracks that could have better. One good example was Spyder-D’s “Ghetto Christmas,” which made me feel that I was listening to some who was a wannabe of Kool Moe Dee, with a touch of Ice-T thrown in. “That’s What I Want For Christmas” didn’t need to be as long as it was, nor did it need a sample of “White Christmas.” It would be simple just to say that it was not a good song, but there was more to it. I didn’t mind the rapping, but really, it was not a great track that can be skipped. The final track on the album was more or less a mixed bag, as the Surf MC’s had their track with a synthesized beat that overshadowed the lyrical content. The beat was good, but the same cannot be said about the lyrics.

Overall, this album was a mixed bag. The first few tracks were more or less the best ones, while the final few tracks were filler at best.

Check out the back artwork.

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