July 27, 2006

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Wade Waters, Return of the Kings
Wandering Soul Records, 2006

An oft-contrived but enthusiastic mixtape meeting of the Chicago and DC hip-hop scenes featuring SoulStice and Haysoos parading the tag line “Hip hop is back,” a sentiment possibly shared by those who occasionally spoke Ebonics as a gag in the salad days of Three Wize Men but most likely no one else — the Rappin’ Granny’s been around for nearly a decade, for Pete’s sake. The pair spend most of their time trading yo-yo-yo lines that are tough-guy idealistic and tough-guy positive for the most part, capitalizing on the anti-gangsta bible-thumping patois that’s getting Prius-level mileage lately, venting their spleens over shopworn club beats and occasionally brilliant but one-dimensional sample abstracts such as hard-ambient riffology (“Corners Freestyle”), Baptist-choir soloists xeroxing Lauryn Hill (“Right Back”), and antiquated Jazzy Jeff cool-breezes (“Beautiful Sight”). The main impetus for this collaboration was the wide success of the subdued faux-scratch hit single “Rock Solid” (with former Terror Squad member Cuban Link), a version of which is included here as a teaser for the duo’s full-length due out this fall on Raptivism/Ryko. C+
— Eric W. Saeger


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