From the Crates to the Files: The Lost Sessions

Artist: Lord FinesseTitle: From the Crates to the Files: The Lost SessionsRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: N. Context

It’s the L-O-R-D F-I-N-E double S-E!!!! It’s been a long minute since we last heard from Finesse on the mic. He has comeback with From the Crates to the Files: The Lost Sessions to bless all “the true Lord Finesse fans & followers” with original recordings, remixes and tracks previously released as promo singles. Finesse first hit the scene in 1989 with “Baby You Nasty” and followed it up with his classic debut album in 1990, Funky Technician. Since then he’s collaborated with the likes of DJ Premier, B.I.G., Dr. Dre and his fellow D.I.T.C. (Diggin In The Crates) Crew to establish himself as a renowned emcee and producer.

From the Crates… was unofficially released in 1998 on vinyl. The official CD features a collection of Finesse’s old school hits and remixes such as “Return of the Funky Man (Remix)”, “You Know What I’m About (rmx)” and “S.K.I.T.S (Shorties Kaught in the System)”. Listening to this album is like entering a time warp back to the early 90’s when James Brown and horn sampling was prevalent as well as the use of scratching and mixing vocals to create hooks. On “You Know What I’m About (rmx)” he loops the opening to Scooby Doo’s theme song to create a sinisterly rugged beat. The variety of Finesse’s samples show why he’s a founding D.I.T.C. member.

What make this album special are the early recordings with the late Big L and the hard to find releases. “Yes You May (Unreleased Remix)” and “You Know What I’m About”, both featuring Big L, are underground gems not released on either’s previous albums. Finesse and Big L are two peas of a pod when it comes to rhyme styles. While Big L’s flow is slightly more fluid and his content is more “horrorcore” rap than Finesse, their rhyme structure, delivery and metaphors are uncannily similar.

The only knock I have with this album is that there are neither any songs from his first album, nor anything current. I was looking forward to hearing “Strictly For The Ladies” and/or “Funky Technician” or brand new tracks I’d never heard before. But alas, it was not to be. Regardless, Finesse provides ample songs to keep your ears happy and to his loyal followers, underground bangers only found on mix tapes and scarce vinyl.

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