D-Block: The CD/DVD Mixtape

Artist: D-BlockTitle: D-Block: The CD/DVD MixtapeRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Martin A. Berrios

It takes a lot of heart to make it in the Rap game and the Lox are a testament to that fact. Throughout ten years the Yonkers New York trio has endured shiny suit ridicule, jail time, high profile beefs, and the untimely record industry rape. Now Jadakiss, Styles P, and Sheek Louch have something to call their own besides their immaculate street credibility. In 2004 the crew started D-Block records, kicking off their new venture with Sheek’s debut, Walk Witt Me. They saw that the major label route wasn't matching their grind so they took it independent. The outcome of that executive move was Sheek's follow up, <After Taxes and now the D-Block The CD/DVD Mixtape (Koch). This latest undertaking gives the listener a deeper look into the crew with a bonus behind the scenes DVD.

If you are already familiar with the D-Block sound you know not to expect anything watered down. The boys stick to the script and come hard from the jump. "D.B.L.O.C.K" reunites the crew, with prodigy J-Hood in tow, over a simple drum track and light flutes. All four members do their thing, but not surprisingly Jadakiss steals the show with some potent bars: "We both got the 7/But yours is the 45/Mine is the sixty, the color of rice crispy/Yeah, so go ahead with your newborn raps/You puss like a newborn cat." Unfortunately, that's Jada's only verse on the entire album. They hook up with Boston's Clinton Sparks on "Everything Ya Got". Sparks jacks a sample from the classic Cheers theme and flips it into a stick up kid anthem. Other heaters include "Discipline" and the J-Hood solo "Nobody".

On the flipside the DVD gives a more intimate look at the group's come up. During the opening, the camera crew follows Sheek around Y.O. He points out some key L.O.X. landmarks such as their old school, where they all lived and frequented hang out spots. Louch takes it a step further as he launches his promo tour with J-Hood by his side. The DVD's finest moment is when all three members give the story behind their infamous career. Kiss points out what led to the falling out with Bad Boy, and P reminisces about Big Poppa. Each member gets a video to shine dolo. Moments like the local crack heads doing the Tyrone Biggums shuffle during performance shoots do get a fast-forward though.

While the light nine-song tracklisting and the lack of Kiss and Styles on the disc might disappoint some, this mixtape is solid. The D-Block team keeps it thorough and show that they are still the streets.