Still Reportin

Artist: Tragedy KhadafiTitle: Still ReportinRating: 4 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine

Arguably the best super-group in history, the Legendary Juice Crew boasted a membership including the likes of Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Kool G. Rap, Roxanne Shante, et al. As the crew began to disband in the early 90’s, leader Marley Marl devoted his efforts to the next great Queens MC, Tragedy Khadafi. Tragedy’s 1991 release, Intelligent Hoodlum is still regarded as a paradigm of politically conscious albums. Despite both of these facts, Tragedy may be best known for headlining the answer record to Tha Dogg Pound’s “New York, New York” record with his own, “LA, LA.” It’s been eight years, two albums, and Tragedy has been criminally slept on. Still independent, still dangerously intelligent, Tragedy returns with one of the best records of the fall.

Still Reportin refers to Tragedy’s reputation, like Nas, for writing what’s outside his windows. The record holds true to its title in the fact that Tragedy addresses many of 2003’s issues with opinion and thought. For instance, “Walk Wit Me” is a powerful rap cover of the African American National Anthem that touches on everything that’s going wrong with the Black community, with a sense of hope and pride. While tracks like “Walk Wit Me” and “Crying on the Inside” promote emotional revelation, Tragedy still spits some hard street verses. “Neva Die Alone Pt. 2” and “The Truth” are extremely potent tracks that chronicle the Thug Life with a fresh sound and Tragedy’s solid delivery. The strongest characteristic of this record is the homogenous content matter between scholar and thug, sinner and saint, prophet and historian.

Unlike his Queens cohorts, Tragedy is running with some new producers. The buzzworthy Scram Jones provides some incredible radio-worthy beats. The sound never stops changing. Equally, newcomer Booth’s productions are as good as any rising producer in New York. Also worth the mention is Tragedy’s new artist, Christ Castro. Castro, featured on a couple tracks, offers guest verses that are so exciting that the listener wants more. Also look for guest shots from Havoc, Capone, and Littles.

There is no reason why Still Reportin should be ignored. This record has versatility from a veteran who has only gotten better with time. Tragedy bears his soul and knowledge one more time. While Tragedy won’t get the MTV spins, this record is as good as any of the last three Mobb Deep records from Tragedy’s homeboys.