Da Beatminerz : Brace 4 Impak

Pete Rock, Caron Wheeler and Naughty By Nature feature on this excellent mash-up from the respected crate-diggers...

Well respected in hiphop circles for an uncanny ability to unearth grimy beats, Da Beatminerz finally release their first compilation of productions. DJ Evil Dee, Mr Walt, Baby Paul, Rick Black and Chocolate Ty work as a collective and have come up with a patchwork of bass-heavy sounds that stay hiphop but contain elements of R&B, reggae, and instruments scratched from ancient soul records. It's a veritable who's who of established artists who join them on this rollercoaster ride.

Pete Rock and Caron Wheeler are on top form for 'Open'; Rass Kass and Jayo Felony deliver lyrical body blows by the sentence throughout 'Bentleys & Bitches'; and Naughty By Nature infuse 'Thug Love' with a sense of the bond, as opposed to differences, between East Coast and West Coast. There's more than enough violent imagery throughout the album from the mouths of hardheaded MCs, but this is leavened with melancholy tracks like 'Let's Talk About It (T.R.O.Y Remix)', which reminisces about friends who have departed the planet.

Da Beatminerz always make sure they stay connected to the streets, so an episode like 'Ghetto To Ghetto' - which features Tefelar Cordell - has a mixture of nihilism, world-weariness and brave-heartedness that comes from a struggle to survive in a sometimes hostile environment. 'Brace 4 Impak' will not change the way the world is, but it might have an impact on hiphop headz. And its got nothing to do with formulaic, production-line fodder or collaborations by numbers - there's a definite and distinct signature here.

Dele Fadele
7 / 10

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