Flip open this Hip-Hop supergroup's debut offering 'El Nino' and you'll find the Def Squad logo.....

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Spectral Worship

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Spectral Worship

FLIP OPEN THIS HIP-HOP SUPERGROUP’S debut offering ‘El Nino’ and you’ll find the Def Squad logo. Namely, a toddler with hands pressed tight around his ears.

It’s particularly apt because – lyrically, at least – these three clearly never left kindergarten. Which is gutting because in terms of pure delivery, EPMD’s Erick Sermon, Redman and Keith Murray are true rap scholars. The way they interact on block rockers like ‘Check N’Me Out’ and ‘Can U Dig It?’ is pure poetry. Or would be if you couldn’t understand what they were saying.

‘El Nino’ is the sound of them pissing their considerable skills squarely up the wall. Either for reasons of fashion – every self-respecting Stateside MC’s gone old skool these days – or nostalgia, the trio have crafted an album which supposedly returns hip-hop to its youthful golden age. But rather than refining and reinventing the joyful innocence of those formative years like, say, LA’s Jurassic 5, the Squad have simply used a succession of threadbare ‘classic’ samples as their excuse for yet more clichid talk of guns and bitches.

As a result, they end up sounding paranoid and defensive despite their continued protestations that they “don’t give a fuck”. From opening skit ‘Shower’ – featuring a mystery woman indulging in a little postcoital homicide – practically every track moans on endlessly about unfaithful girlfriends or gangs waiting to blow their faces off. Yawn, yawn, yawn.

A tedious, childish waste of these undeniably accomplished rappers’ talents. It’s time to grow up, boys.