DJ’s have always been the backbone of Hip-Hop since it first began back in the late 70’s.
At one point, people weren’t that familiar with the “guy” behind the MC with two turntables, and miles and miles of wiring coming out from everywhere—with the sole purpose of giving them a good listening experience.
But as of late, those times have changed, and DJ’s are now becoming more recognizable than the artists in some instances.
One such master of the “wheels of steel” is none other than the legendary Rock Steady Crew’s DJ JS-1 [Click for interview], as he returns to reasserts his position with Ground Original 2: No Sellout.
The project is basically a lyrical smorgasbord, with the menu consisting of MC’s such as Canibus, CL Smooth, Chino XL, Large Professor, OC, Killah Priest, Big Noyd, Blaq Poet, Torae [Click for interview], KRS-One, Pharoahe Monch, Aesop Rock, Sean Price, and plenty more.
Entirely produced by [DJ] JS-1, the project takes a justifiable biased approach, and only caters those who have a Jones for East Coast-related “boom-bap” Hip-Hop.
Starting off with a beat box intro courtesy of Rahzel, things get underway with the hard drum kicks and piano loop of ‘Like This’ featuring Large Professor, while Parrish “PMD” Smith contributes with a spoken word-type portion.
“The Teacha” meets up with “Can-I-Bus” as both KRS-One and Canibus join forces to form ‘Clear N Present Danger.’ [DJ] JS-1 slows down the tempo a little bit on ‘Murder,’ as it features the diversity of Sean Price, Chino XL, and Killah Priest. With the help of a DJ Premier-esque scratch-laden hook, all three MC’s show why they belong on the track:
Chino XL: “Before New York was gang signs, and bandanas/Jay used his turntables like the guitar of Carlos Santana/before Jay-Z screwed up Def Jam releases/I been a lyrical Jesus/last of a dyin’ species.”
Sean Price: “Ain’t no tellin’ what I’d do for a dollar/I’m not your father, but guess what I’m a do to ya momma/troop with the Llama/catch you sleepin’, shoot ya pajamas/n*ggas scared to death/I’m cool/Hakuna Matata.”
Killah Priest: “I need a participant/listen kid, you need discipline/before you try this at home/I advise you to sterilize your microphone/parental supervision/once the producer loops the rhythms.”
The “strictly Hip-Hop with no gimmick” content moves along with songs like ‘Karma Killerz’ (feat. Aesop Rock, Vast Aire, and C Rayz Walz), ‘Nuthin’’ (feat. CL Smooth, Sadat X, and Brother Ali), ‘Original G’z’ (feat. AG, Craig G, and Edo G), and ‘Bang Da Undaground’ (feat. Torae, Pumpkinhead, and Block McCloud).
One of the strongest records on the project comes in on ‘Ridiculous’ featuring OC and Pharoahe Monch. After Common gives [DJ] JS-1 a co-sign, the two lyricists go to work:
OC: “I’m a rare vintage/save the prayers for the extremists, pedophiles, and them crooked politicians/spit game, still vicious than dog fights/more popular than Bar-B-Que’s sippin’ Coors Light.”
Pharoahe Monch: “Fein for chicks in tight jeans to show gratitude/that’s why Queens is still the longitude latitude/hat low, over my braids/I’m inconspicuous/I’m everywhere, I’m ubiquitous/a perfectionist, so meticulous/JS-1 sick wit it, it’s ridiculous.”
[DJ] JS-1 continues to show commercialism the front door with added firepower like ‘Brainbender’ (feat. Ultramagnetic MC’s, Canibus, Prince Poetry, and Rahzel), ‘No Comparison’ (feat. C Rayz Walz, Poison Pen, and Jak D), and ‘On The Map’ (feat. Big Noyd, Blaq Poet, Jak D, Graig G, Trez).
Staying true to form, Ground Original 2: No Sellout does not contain any signs of “selling out,” as it’s filled with content that would make any Hip-Hop purist fall into a euphoric state.
Nothing but hard beats complemented by even harder rhymes—and the only crime that would occur here is if this record doesn’t sellout itself…