Live Coverage

Artist: KreatorsTitle: Live CoverageRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine

The Kreators have every reason to be in the vocabulary of the average Hip-Hop head, yet they aren’t. They were once signed to Atlantic Records in a time when the majors went slumming for underground talent a la Dilated Peoples and Prozack Turner. The Kreators were not only spotlighted on MTV, but they were a staple on MTV2, by way of their video “Foreign Lands.” Ironically, the video was much more heavily aired in those foreign lands. But this Boston mega-group still hasn’t blown on a national level in the United States. After a successful EP and a quality LP, the group returns to try to chip away into Hip-Hop stardom with Live Coverage.

This four man group (Jaysaun, G2, XL, and Big Juan) refuses to be labeled. Their lead single, “Night Life” makes that highly apparent. Pete Rock supplies a very melodic beat with heavy, slow percussion. The hook is a cliché letterman chant. But the braggadocious verses themselves sound more street than most MC’s backed by the Soul Brother. The Kreators’ play with R&B is better than most Hip-Hop acts. “Bizness” and “White Horse” pay homage to early 80’s Solaar style Soul records. Few producers go in that direction, and credit is due. “Asshole” is a very average concept track about being hated. The production is a simple drum pattern and a faded background whistle. It meshes well with the lyrics and creates a cool, smart, solid mood. Live Coverage has a variety of moods and tones. However, in actuality, the album lacks concrete concept to back the styles. The Kreators are very talented MC’s across the board, however they fail to deftly approach solid topics on a group scale.

In terms of production, Live Coverage steps away from where the Kreators left us three years ago. This album has a strong presence of keyboard beats. That’s odd for a group that scratches on the chorus, and rhymes about true-school Hip-Hop. It doesn’t matter. This group succeeds with their sound by not catering to the soft side of things. Tracks like “White Horse” and “Legacy” sound like they’d belong on a Mack 10 album before a Boston group. The group uses an innovative approach to beats on this album. DJ Revolution and Pete Rock swing through with guest work. It’s nice to see a group make bold efforts, and still recognize where the origin of things is.

While “Night Life” is an exciting single, Live Coverage lacks excitement at times. The Kreators mix up their priorities. They make very catchy choruses and hooks in most of their tracks – while as MC’s they still drop science in a far too traditional format. The lack of balance counteracts to be both daring, and boring. Nonetheless, the Kreators have upped their ante in terms of their effort to be a successful, multi-talented group from a different city than usual.