My Brother's Keeper

Artist: Lake & CormegaTitle: My Brother's KeeperRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Martin A. Berrios

From MC Shan to "God's Son" the Queensbridge, New York housing projects have been known to produce Hip-Hop royalty. Under the radar Cormega has kept the pride alive with two well-received offerings (The Realness, The True Meaning), remaining one of the most respected in the underground. With a strong foundation in place he proceeds to put QB street legend Lake next at bat. Most known for his appearance on Nas' "Revolutionary Warfare" and sporadic verses on his own 41st Side compilation, Lakey's proper debut My Brother's Keeper (Fast Life/Koch) is a surprisingly thorough effort.

Things are kicked off nicely with the soul sample laced "Ghetto." Mega and Lake keep it brief with swift deliveries about their street ways. On the album's first single "The Oath", both MC's deliver bars pledging their respect for the G-Code. Ax The Bull cooks up a mellow backdrop to properly suit the calm flows. On a solo tip, Lakey does his thing with "Stress And Greed." Jay Boy's lays down dramatic keys over crisp drums to make it all connect. Lake also pays respect to all his fallen soldiers with a twist on the aptly titled "Walk Through Heaven." He takes a note from Tupac's "I Ain't Mad At Cha" as he paints a picture of bumping into people as he strolls through the pearly gates. "Miss Dorothy, how you doing I'm a friend of your son/Corey loves you and asked me if I would give you a hug/Miss Jones, I know you don't remember me much/But I hung with Jabari and Nas when we were young."

Production wise this effort stays in line with the overall street vibe. Beatsmith Buckwild comes through with dark distorted synthesized notes on "Get It" and Premo laces Cormega with his signature cuts and heavy drums on "Dirty Game."

Even though Lake and Cormega don't pull off the one two combo as well as a Rae and Ghost, the Q Boro brethren don't disappoint with My Brother's Keeper. The bridge isn't over.