The Conspiracy Mix CD

Artist: The WeathermenTitle: The Conspiracy Mix CDRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine

Is rap dominated by production? Would anybody want to hear Bubba Sparxxx

without the Timbaland beat? This age-old question may never have a definite answer but one thing is for sure, it's absolutely lovely when a great verse and a hot beat collide. The Weathermen, a group of ferocious MC's hailing from New York, Philly, Jersey, Boston, and even Columbus, OH, challenged this equation. They decided to rock the most radio ready of instrumentals, but in their own way. The result is The Conspiracy Mix CD.

Some of the cover raps are creative, and sound edgy and bold. "Made You

Sh*t Your Pants", a new rendition of "Made You Look" works. The star of the

show is Copywrite. His shock effect punchlines and long bars really throw a new

edge on the track. However, "What Happened To That Toy" an update to the Baby & Clipse joint

is not so successful. Cage and Tame-1 both provide interesting verses, but

it's too far a stretch from the griminess that they're best suited to deliver.

Half of this album follows this cover-song format. At times it comes

across with an honesty and a drive to present true hip-hop. At other times, the efforts seem to be touching that Weird Al Yankovic side of ridiculous. The other half of this album bears a nice originality.

The hot single from the album is "5 Left in the Clip Rremix)" While the original version was equally impressive, the RJD2 prodiuced remix does not stop short with Copywrite and Cage stepping up to break open the track. Another impressive original track is "Chris Lighty" by Vast Aire. The arena sounding beat is rocked well by Vast's deep voice and disciplined flow.

All of the original tracks have that classic Eastern Conference production, making this record that much more appealing.

While the covers might make the record more interesting, it makes the original tracks seem

less. In equal part, the group seems to be uniting on the earlier part of the

album for large collaborations. Meanwhile, a lot of the later tracks are two or

three members together. These tracks feel like carry-overs. This is where the

album falls short. But, this is a mix cd and not a proper album.

Every rapper of this mega-group does not dissapoint along with notable guest shots from El-P and Breeze Brewin'. Most of the tracks stick to the cipher style that these cats are noted for; big punchlines, abrasive and threatening lyrics, and lots of references to sex, drugs, and foulness. Still, if anybody should be doing this, these are the emcees. They come across true to their words, and beyond that - true to hip-hop.