Artist: Clinton Sparks & EminemTitle: SmashTime Radio: Shade 45 Anniversary EditionRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: KeiSaundra K.Sincere Henderson
The definition of a mixtape at times requires that there be several artist who have come together to help a DJ compile music assisted by mixing and sampling of previously recorded tracks. Clinton Sparks and Eminem’s SmashTime Radio: The Shade 45 Edition (MixUnit) will even get 50 Cent-haters’ attention. Not only does G-Unit actually entertain and avoid commercializing their tracks, the “album” also features Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, Fabolous, Snoop Dogg, Clipse, E-40, Young Jeezy and Papoose. With the perfect variety of new and old Hip-Hop emcees along with Clinton Sparks’ “smash ups”, this “tape” definitely measures up to what audiences are used to from Sparks.
Right out the gate, following an intro from Shady, Fifty maintains consistency with “50 Stay With The Strap.” Claiming to tote a strap in his stroller and stating “I was born into it/Before I could walk, talk a nig*a momma would do it.” Two tracks later Fifty completely eradicates his credibility by reminding audiences of how many times he’s been shot; which is still up for debate to this day. He leaves the undeniable question in mind, “How many times is he going to tell people how many times he’s been shot?”
Fortunately, the rest of G-Unit helps to save the moment with tracks like “Bucktown,” and “Act Like They Don’t Know.” With back to back tracks of G-Unit, Lil Wayne and Fabolous change it up and keep you listening. “Cash Rules” by Lil Wayne (a shorter version of “Where the Cash At”) is even better than Wayne’s individual rendition, simply because the Wu beat from “C.R.E.A.M.” along with a mix of Sparks’ smash ups. Together Fab and Banks make flowing sound easy with their smooth, no extra effort necessary styles over such a hype, club beat on “Million Dollar Ni**a.”
Even Talib Kweli had to make an appearance. Completely unexpected, Kweli graces the tape with “SmashTime Radio”. Of course at this point, the tape slows up on the tempo just a bit, just enough for Kweli to slide his style and lyricism in between the Shade 45 line-up. While “SmashTime” by Kweli is more of a promotional track for Clinton Sparks, it’s the perfect segue for Shady’s hilarious interlude with Jim Jones “Getting to know Jimmy Jones”, aimed at “channeling the little Jimmy inside the Dipset Capo.”
Clinton Sparks proved in the 90’s that he was a problem for DJs everywhere and he continues to do so on his SmashTime Radio Shade 45 Anniversary Edition. Must listen to tracks include Juelz Santana and Snoop Dogg “My Girl” over an ill Al Green loop, Papoose’s live freestyle (no words for this one) and Clipse (so glad they’re back) and E-40 “D-Boy”.