RZAs beats are not just for any MC. Especially not those from the Abbots prime period of 1993-1997, when his production was unrivaled in depth and originality. The same can equally be said for Havoc, whose sinister rhythms from 1995-1999 is the foundation on which Mobb Deeps reputation rests today.
Its fitting then that DJ Chong Wizard has not chosen any new MCs to blend with the seminal production on Only Built for Cuban Linx and Hell of Earth. Instead, he offers a unique premise of Mobb Deep verses over the classic Raekwon album, while the Chefs verses are combined with the Mobbs brilliant sophomore offering.
Mobb Deeps vocals carry the tapes first half, and fit surprisingly well with RZAs dense musical opus. Chong starts off by blending The Infamous Prelude, Prodigys famous trash talking skit aimed at Keith Murray, with Raes Striving for Perfection to perfectly set the tapes ominous mood.
Mobb fans will enjoy placing the song titles, as Chong uses well known and underground songs from the groups catalogue. The Grimy Way gets a new vibrant energy when its blended with Criminology, and Pees baleful lyrics on G.O.D. Pt. III become even more abrasive after Chongs skillful blend with Raes Rainy Dayz.
Raekwons lyrics hold up their end on the tapes second half. His verse on C.R.E.A.M. becomes Husters Instinct after combining with Hell On Earths lead track, and Raes sixteen from Apollo Kids becomes more potent over the sprawling strings of Mobbs Give It Up Fast.
Despite the strong blends, Chong missteps come when he becomes a little too self-indulgent with the classic source material. Clocking well over an hour, obvious filler could have been trimmed such as Prodigys recent 6 minute plus rant against rappers (not to mention wasting the Verbal Intercourse instrumental over Pees nonsense). Also, more recent verses sound stilted over the classic production, as 50 Cents rhymes on Outta Control had no business over Ice Cream.
Still, DJ Chong has once again shown a keen ear for mixing styles and keeping his work above the abyss of novelty that most mixtapes succumb to. And after the innovative American Ironman, he has crafted a worthy successor with Hells Kitchen.
DJ Chong Wizard
DJ Chong Wizard
"OG Cream Team"