Artist: Craig-GTitle: This is Now!Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Paine
Craig-G is one of the fiercest MCs to ever grip a mic. A legendary battle figure, a hip-hop pioneer as a card carrying member of Marley Marls Juice Crew and recently a ghostwriter to many of the battle raps in Eminems 8 Mile blockbuster; Craig-G is an icon. One of the first rappers to thoroughly rep Queensbridge before it was in vogue, he returns with This is Now!
Appropriately titled, This is Now! is Craigs first full LP in over a decade. Full of messages, Craig devotes tracks to hip-hop restoration, relationships, as well as a bulk of bragging tracks that question why anybody could forget about him. The standout track is Dribble or Shoot featuring Afu-Ra and the Human Orchestra. Craigs delivery is rock solid over The Human Orchestra complex beat-boxing and vocal scratching. With Afu-Ra dropping a knocker, the hook seals the deal: This right here for sure will leave you scoreless, haters in the back they will have to applaud this, we did all and strong dont even need the chordless, you after this loot? Nigga dribble or shoot! Craig uses veteran tactics evident in the superb storytelling of Damn This Day. Craig closes the LP with a special feature: an accapella freestyle medley. Craig includes the cadence, the piston-like rhymes, and even the mistakes. When you hear it, your mouth is guaranteed to drop like pigeon sh*t.
If a veterans resurrection isnt enough for you, the producers are listed on the credits with good reason; Marley Marl, DJ Premier, Large Professor, Beatminerz, Nottz, and Rockwilder, need more? Interesting, newcomer and associate producer DJ Sage brought some of the most interesting beats on the record. Also, This is Now! and Gang Starrs upcoming The Ownerz were the last albums to be completed in the now defunct D&D Studios. Thus, this record has special meaning on many levels.
The album possesses every color on the true hip-hop palette. There are tracks like Now Thats Whats Up that belong in the club, joints like the lead single Lets Get Up that appeal to every purist and gems like Love is Love and Words are Warbucks that are too rugged for any DJ not to spin at a basement party. This is Now! consistently showcases Craigs comfort on the mic, superior delivery and which when couple with its steady production will quiet Just a freestyler rumblings. In the modern hip-hop trend of big budgets and heavy guest lists, this record will hold up against anything out there.