Fully Loaded w/ Statik

Artist: Da BeatminerzTitle: Fully Loaded w/ StatikRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Orisanmi Burton

In recent years the sonic landscape of hip hop has

lost some of its edge. The integration of the music and style into the

feeding frenzy that is popular culture has had many consequences, one

of which has been its glamorous makeover. The keyboard sound

popularized into ubiquity by producers like The Neptunes and Dr. Dre

has virtually taken over the airwaves. Unlike other musical genres,

the Hip-hop aesthetic shifts constantly and drastically with the

ever-changing tastes of its young audience. Whereas the production of

early Hip-hop beats consisted of grimy kicks and snares conspicuously

lifted from the likes of Clyde Stubblefield and haphazardly looped,

the priorities of current Hip-hop producers have shifted toward

elements like melody, harmony, and meticulous synchronization. In

short, today’s sound is sparse, clear and highly contagious – but

soft!

Now imagine Mr. Walt and Evil Dee collectively known as Da Beatminerz,

trudging deep beneath Hip-hop’s bedrock with drum machines, samplers

and headlamps. Here they excavate long forgotten loops, worn and

battered with the side effects of age and neglect to be reworked into

boom bap alchemy. Their curriculum vita reads like a true school who’s

who dating back to over a decade past. For the hip hop cognoscenti,

they stand alongside the likes of DJ Premier and Pete Rock on the high

council of legendary crate diggers with an ear for woofer shattering

creations. Working with acts like Boot Camp Click, M.O.P., Black Star

and Eminem to name a few, the duo has made a formidable contribution

to the culture, producing a stockpile of classic material. The sounds

that emerge from the Minerz are neither clean and crisp nor are they

pretty and pleasant. Their organic bass, horn and vocal samples are

riddled with snaps, pops and distortion. The result is Fully Loaded w/

Statik (Copter) a hefty offering that reminds us of a time when Hip-hop was supposed to sound raw.

The thirteen track compilation features subterranean luminaries like

Wordsworth, The Last Emperor, J. Live, KRS One, Dilated Peoples,

Krumbsnatcha and Sha Lumie spewing curbside verses over top notch

production. However, Jean Grae and Mystic, the two females guests on

Fully Loaded create standout songs. On “U.. Me.. All Ov Us!” Jean

Grae employs her conversational flow to outline a blueprint for

self-improvement. Aided by a cleaver vocal sample, the chorus starts

“You, gotta get your damn hands up / Me, must keep on giving my all

until / All of us, got it locked for real and stay strong till the

truth’s revealed”. Grae rocks over the choppy track like a seasoned

vet and provides some of the most inspired lyrics on the album. Bay

area based MC/Songstress Mystic shines on “Pull Your Card” as she

unceremoniously calls out faux thugs, white boy wannabes and beef

inciting drunkards (“I might be a nigga/ but I’m not your nigga/ keep

calling me one and you can meet mine/ you a white boy in a f#ckin drop

top/ bumpin 2Pac/ actin like you hard/ stop”).

As a complete project Fully Loaded w/ Statik flows together in a way

that eludes most compilations. The base-heavy production is varied yet

cohesive and the guest artists do a good job of bringing the beats to

life with sharp lines and memorable hooks. However, this isn’t an

album for the uninitiated. Discriminating Hip-hop fans eager to hear

something different will appreciate its unconventionality, while those

partial to a more mainstream sound may be put off by it. All things

considered, Fully Loaded is a solid contribution which further cements

Da Beatminerz’ standing as one of Hip-hop’s most important producers.

Related Stories