For his newest project, Population Control, Statik Selektah has linked up with Duck Down Music, some Hip-Hop heavyweights, and a number of “new school” artists to deliver a solid, 19-track album to the masses. The multi-talented “Showoff,” whose many hats include being a DJ, producer, radio host, label owner, and occasional rapper, has brought together close to 50 artists for Population Control, backed by a very familiar and yet maturing sound, provided entirely by the man himself, Statik Selektah.
He has spoken of Population Control as his “way of saying who is legit from the new generation. I added a few of the O.G.’s that still care about our music. This is a different sound from my previous albums. It's fresh and younger, but still very raw. I'm excited to show the older rap heads how dope some of the new guys are, as well as show some of the kids following the new guys how the O.G.’s get down." The only question that remains is did Statik succeed? Read our review of Population Control to find out, and when you're done, check out several videos of Statik's commentary from his listening party.
The album kicks off with the title track, which features a superb verse from Sean Price and an impressive verse from Showoff artist Termanology. Next is “Play the Game" with two of the year’s biggest new artists, Big K.R.I.T., and Freddie Gibbs, handling verses with ease. K.R.I.T. briefly raps about the first time he performed in New York City, which was also the first time he and Statik met, and the crowd reception he received then compared to his national following now.
“Groupie Love” features Mac Miller and singer Josh Xantus, and could be considered the album’s first misstep. Not to take anything away from Mac or Statik, but this is one of the less exciting and more generic songs featured on the album, and being tucked in between tracks like “Play the Game” and “New York, New York” featuring Saigon, Styles P., and Jared Evan, doesn’t help its case much. “New York” is an anthem in every sense of the word, and the impeccable verses by both Saigon and Styles P elevate the song to a whole never level. What’s interesting is that Statik is from Massachusetts, so his creation of this new ode to his relatively new city is surprising but very necessary.
“Sam Jack” has an amalgam of instruments and sounds behind the featured verses by XV, Jon Connor, and Kid Daytona that truly make the song shine as one of the album's must hears. It is followed by two more of Population Control’s standout records, the first being “Never A Dull Moment.” With Action Bronson, Bun B, and Termanology on a track together, expect some hardcore and witty lyricism, which is exactly what you get for four minutes straight without a single dull moment, as the title suggests.
On “You’re Gone,” which features Talib Kweli, Lil Fame, and singer Colin Munroe, Statik laces the guys with a laid-back beat very reminiscent of the West Coast, allowing each artist to do their thing in a very familiar yet creative manner. The album begins to fizzle out for a while during the middle of Population Control. Although there are some great verses from artists like Pill, Chace Infinite, and L.E.P. Bogus Boys, this part of the album just feels a little flat, and it has little to nothing to do with the production.
The album picks back up near the 13th song, “Half Moon Part,” including Skyzoo, Chuuwee, and Tayyib Ali over a more uplifting sounding song that helps set the tone for the gem-laced remainder of the album. Over the Jadakiss-sampled “Black Swan," female MCs Nitty Scott MC and Rapsody let it be known they are to be taken just as seriously as their male counterparts on the album. The ferociousness in their flow just reeks of wanting the attention that their due, and with a song like this, it’s just a matter of time before all eyes are on these two ladies. Joell Ortiz and Brother Ali are featured on the album's introspective 17th track, "Damn Right" which contains a very soulful Isley Brother sample and turns out to be another one of the album's certifiable standouts.
"Live and Let Live" features one of Hip-Hop's most talked about artists as of late, Lecrae. The prominently Christian rapper, who sounds nothing like the preachy artist you would expect, explodes over some strings and claps courtesy of Statik. Population Control closes out on a very high note with “A DJ Saved My Life” which boasts DJ Premier, DJ Babu, Scram Jones, and DJ Craze all taking turns contributing to a song that will surely become a personal highlight for Statik for the rest of his life. The song is an homage to all things DJ, and it sounds great.
Overall the album delivers what is expected. Listeners are treated to some amazing production, great verses, and a roster of artists coming together to create a big moment, not just Hip-Hop, but in music. However, the album does not have a truly, whole cohesive feeling, thanks to some hiccups in sequencing. There are some standouts, some average songs, and a few disappointments, but for what the overall goal was with this album, Statik has certainly succeeded.
Must Hear: “Play the Game,” “New York, New York,” “Never A Dull Moment,” “Sam Jack,” “A DJ Saved My Life”
Statik Selektah's New Album Population Control is In Stores Now!
Statik Selektah on "New York, New York"
Statik Selektah on "Never A Dull Moment"
Statik Selektah on "Live and Let Live"
Statik Selektah on "A DJ Saved My Life"