Rugged Radio Saturday

Artist: mixed by DJ CrazeTitle: Rugged Radio SaturdayRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine

Audio Research is a Montreal based label that's been building a name off

of several singles and noteworthy battle records. Rugged Radio Saturday is the

label's first full-length release and celebrates its six years of

success. The LP is mixed by former DMC champion,

and Allies frontman, DJ Craze. With nearly fifteen praised underground treats

and Miami's baddest DJ on the cut, this piece holds its weight from the gate.

The album's MC's are mostly up-and-comers from the Northeast. From that

talent pool, the most promising is Non Phixion affiliate,

Ill Bill. Bill's verse on "2004" is complete ruggedry. This track teams Bill

alongside Obscure Disorder and Goretex for a lyrical postulation of where the

state of hip-hop is headed. The track is the standout on the LP, and like

several others, features a simple-minded New York production style (courtesy of

Necro) mixed in with old school cut-in's and dope scratching. Another great anthem

of the culture is,"Under Pressure." On this joint, newcomer Simahiak really

examines the justified greed of rap music over a faster drum track mixed in

with vocal samples. Stripped down raw raps like these appeal to only the purest

of fans. But to those true-schoolers, this will ring your bell like a Jehova's

Witness. Beyond hip-hop and city life, few topics are explored.

The record falls short in consistency. Understandably, Audio Research has

been both a platform for the MC and the DJ. Still, even with Craze's deft

mixing, this record doesn't find a homogeneous balance between the two. Some

areas sound like songs, meanwhile others simply seem as turntable explorations

that are too long and too abstract. The turntablism is quality - rightfully so,

considering the likes of A-Trak and Q-Bert got down. But the neither the MC

nor the DJ is giving the listener enough reason to learn their name. The record

simply plays end to end, which arguably makes it a worthy purchase in

these times.

If you're looking for a new bag of MC's to check out, or you enjoy

heavier scratching amidst rhymes, this is a unique product up your alley. Rugged

Radio Saturday is true to its name in terms of stretching to rebuild New York

style hip-hop. However, this record does little to sell itself on the basis of

excitement or ground breaking material. Instead, the proven alternative would be

to explore the Audio Research back catalog, and buy these efforts on a single

to single basis.