Big City (Psycho Les, Al Tariq, Problemz): The City Never Sleeps

It’s been over a decade since founding Beatnuts Psycho Les and Al Tariq debuted with Intoxicated Demons, and these guys still haven’t settled down. On The City Never Sleeps (Nature Sounds), Les and Tariq join longtime affiliate and Missin Linx member Problemz to become Big City on an album full of boasts and bad behavior. Produced entirely by The Beatnuts, it appropriately opens with a voicemail message from one of Hip-Hop’s most notorious wild men Flavor Flav. The NYC collective is at its best bragging on the upbeat creations “Stick ’Em Up” and “Chedda.” On the former, Al Tariq promises to “have them dancing on the ceiling like Lionel’s last cut” on a song that’s enlivened by Greg Nice’s hook. The big drums of the latter makes for a rollicking club track. With so much attention in rap being put on D-boys this is a song for the B-boys. Big City is at its raunchiest on “MILF (Miss Juice Goose),” a humorous ode to moms, both famous and not-famous, who the guys would like to “pipe.”Big City has abundant chemistry and aptly crafts booming East Coast Hip-Hop, but falters when it steps out of its element on “Jump On It,” a freaky tale with an R&B hook, and the Southern influenced, screwed-up “Lick B*lls.” However, the missteps are few—where is Junkyard Juju?—on an album that should satisfy ’Nuts fans and earn Big City a following of its own. When you’re in a city that never sleeps, you have to keep the party going.