Alive on Arrival (Mixtape)

Artist: Green LanternTitle: Alive on Arrival (Mixtape)Rating: 4 StarsReviewed by: John Kennedy

Through his exclusive features, masterful mixes and precise production, Green Lantern has cemented his name among the most innovative of mixtape DJs. Since departing from his post as Eminem’s official disk jockey, Green has honed his handiness on the boards, adding joints from the Ruff Ryders compilation and the Notorious B.I.G. Duets album to his production portfolio. But with Alive on Arrival, the self-proclaimed Evil Genius makes his impeccable return to the mixtape game.

Alive on Arrival features blends and original material from lyrical heavyweights like Papoose, Ghostface and Busta Rhymes; however, the mixtape gleams brightest due to Green Lantern’s solid soundscape and “green mixes.” He brilliantly flips Junior Walker and the All Stars’ “Shotgun” for “Shotgun Season,” a thugged-out pairing of Fat Joe and Styles P that finds the duo blasting double-barreled bars in every direction. “Keep an extra box of shells in my big goose down/Limited issue, shit would pin a big moose down,” Styles boasts. Elsewhere, Lantern adapts Biggie’s “Sky’s the Limit” with soft keys and crisp snares for B.I.G. and Jim Jones’ sincere “Hustler’s Prayer.” But his most outstanding production work comes on “Show You What I’m Workin’ Wit,” where Juelz and Dem Franchise Boys trade drug tales while Lantern alternates between screaming sirens and snappy handclaps.

Alive on Arrival also gets political with the Just Blaze-produced “Impeach the President.” Here, Saigon and dead prez take jabs at George Dubya before Immortal Technique breaks down Bush’s political record “from the Patriot Act to raping Iraq.” Another coalition of the willing is assembled for “New York,” as up-and-comers Jae Millz, Cory Gunz, Stack Bundles and Maino rally to breathe life back into the five boroughs. But this mixtape isn’t just a northern affair; T.I. and Bun B offer some southern hospitality on “Get Ya Pay,” riding Green’s bouncy horns while a Rakim sample plays the chorus.

All in all, mixtape magician Green Lantern amplifies the yearning for his long-awaited commercial release from Russell Simmons Music Group. But more notably, New York’s overwhelming representation on the mixtape is a refreshing supplement to southern-dominated radio airplay. With the Evil Genius’ superb quality and spanking new material, Alive on Arrival further fades the fine line between street mixtapes and official albums.