Saturday, February 6th, 2010 at 3:45 pm
When you listen to Statik Selektah’s production, one thing is for certain; he’s a true student of the game. On his third solo release 100 Proof: The Hangover, Statik Selektah makes it apparent that he hasn’t lost a step and proves he has an ear second-to-none in his role. Somehow every combination of artist that Statik places over his instrumental sounds remarkable. As one of the few high profile producers holding onto the boom -bap style of Hip Hop, Statik enlists the help of several underground artists still holding onto the art. However, it is Statik’s selection of samples that prove to be the most intriguing part of the album.
After a brief introduction, the album kicks off with its lead single, “So Close, So Far.” Bun B and Wale fantasize about a world “where everything you ever wished for was in reach,” while Colin Monroe takes the chorus. Statik supplies an inspiring saxophone sample that fits the track’s theme perfectly. Statik told Complex that this track “doesn’t represent the rest of the album,” and it becomes apparent by the conflicting aggressiveness of “Critically Acclaimed” featuring Lil Fame of M.O.P., Saigon, and Sean Price. Each rapper holds their own as Statik delivers the type of scratches that could make Premo envious. This is hands down one of the illest tracks on the album. Statik continues to usher in some extraordinary samples with “Night People.” Sadly this is one of 100 Proof’s low points as Freeway and Red Café can’t save Masspike Miles’ excessively processed voice on the hook. The dark tones ensue when Smif-N-Wessun lay down their vocals on “Follow Me.” Tek tells the listeners, “that was the first life I ever took/the last n*gga to line me up for a jux/that’s why my bars so authentic/our first million, split it then spent it.” The Mash-Out vibe returns when Lil Fame kicks off “Do It 2 Death” screaming, “on the boulevard, the streets, avenues and PJ’s/we hussle hard rock clothes for like three days/n*gga f*ck around and grow a beard like Freeway’s without to Khufu/you killing them fame? Absolutely!” Havoc of Mobb Deep and Kool G Rap also bless the hard-hitting instrumental while Statik chops the record.
100 Proof slows down, but not for the worse as frequent Statik collaborator Termanology and Royce Da 5’9″ rock over a female vocal sample on “Come Around.” While both emcee’s verses were far from their best, it is also miles ahead of a lot of artists. Royce does drop some gems with lines like “I‘m ever so evidently colder than y’all even after you n*ggas go to the morgue/I got a flow like there’s no tomorrow/that you couldn’t hold or borrow or bite it/easy to say harder to write it/I got the brain of a miser heart of a lion/got the spit game of a geyser, the art of Orion.” Next, Statik’s crew of Reks, Joe Scudda, and JFK explain some relationship issues that occur when you “wake up so f*cked up.” There’s nothing impressive about any emcee’s verse, but Statik brings that head nod music. Consequence explains that “he gets his smoke on” and “gets his drink on” because “Life Is Short” on the following track which has Stat playing the role of Kanye with successful results.
On another outstanding cut, Statik utilizes two emcees with contrasting styles. Styles P and Talib Kweli bring their A-game on “The Thrill Is Gone” as Statik Selektah scratches Biggie over a soulful key sample. Both emcees discuss problems with cliché lyrics that have flooded the industry lately. “Get Out” suffers from some lackluster percussions and hook. Luckily Statik makes good on the next track and brings in Oakland legends, Souls of Mischief. The sliced female vocal sample alone on “Laughin’” is enough proof of Statik’s superior production skills. Going four bars at a time like it was 1993 again, the Hiero crew comes correct over the production. I guess Statik decided to take a layover in Cali because another group of west coasters follow suit on “The Coast.” The west coast anthem features familiar faces like Evidence and Fashawn with newcomer Kali. The laidback production allows each artist to reminisce on “California nights.” Termanology and Reks, return on “Fake Love (Yes Men)” alongside Good Brotha to call out “ass kissers.” Term hangs around to collaborate with Staik on “Eighty-Two” appropriately titled after their upcoming project 1982. The chemistry the two have together is reminiscent of Pete Rock & CL Smooth. 100 Proof comes to end on a pessimistic note as Kali spits, “love end that’s why you have to focus on the dollar signs.” Novell actually lends his voice to this track with a verse of his own. Utilizing a female vocal sample singing, “you go your way, I’ll go mine,” Statik crafts a masterpiece worthy of closing an album.
100 Proof: The Hangover is a rare gem in field of producer albums. Some producers can take fifty of the best emcees in the world and throw them together with subpar results. Statik Selektah has the ability to chose instrumentals with artists in mind and develop songs around them. Even when some hooks fail to impress or verses are lackluster, Statik never falls short on providing a brilliant array of instrumentals and well placed scratches. 100 Proof displays some of Statik’s finest instrumentals and is easily one of his strongest releases to date.