The Last Stand

Artist: Boot Camp ClickTitle: The Last StandRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Paine

There's no question that the Boot Camp Clik has been a long-forged super-group. However, the battalion of Smif-N-Wessun, Heltah Skeltah, O.G.C., and Buckshot (Black Moon) always seemed to make longer-lasting work in their own battalions, as opposed to under the BCC tent. By collaborating with producers like 9th Wonder in 2005, the Duck Down sound evolved, as the MCs returned to the lethal lyricism that defined them in the mid '90s. Led by Sean Price and Buckshot, the Boot Camp Clik charges for a lasting impression on the battlefields of Hip-Hop with The Last Stand (Duck Down).

The subject matter remains simple, dark, and immersed in corner conversations. However, the group steps out on "He Gave His Life", an ode to the cycle of existence, as told through intimate stories. "Soul Jah" the album's closing number, appears to be a possible parting-shot, as Steel mentions stepping into the sunset while Attic's soul-sample croons, "Remember me, I'm a soldier." As affirmed by Sean P's "the arm bone connected to the hand bone/The hand bone connected to the damn chrome" on "Don't Cross the Line", it appears that the MCs approached each verse with effort to truly stand out in the song.

While 9th Wonder was a pleasant addition throughout 2005's "triple-threat" summer, the BCC enlisted him, plus some legendary help in the likes of Pete Rock and Large Professor. "World Wide" serves as one of thicker slabs of sounds from the Mad Scientist. Guitar strings and organ stabs bring this anthem to life. Soul Brother #1 supplies "1-2-3", a simpler loop, but still pulled from the supreme crates, with quality percussion. Not to be overlooked, Da Beatminerz remain attached to the Clik's definition, though conspicuously, only for one beat, "But Tha Game Iz Still Tha Same". The repetitious string loop lacks the conventional Beatminerz vibe, encouraging lyrical artistry to prevent redundancy.

In real combat, soldiers often return home dejected, to a country that says they shouldn't have been fighting in the first place. Boot Camp Clik has been pounding it out for ten years, in what seemed to be more for their own sake than the audience's. The Last Stand however, uses all available ammunition, and fires home the strongest, most impacting work the group has achieved thus far. While corporate Hip-Hop looms on the horizon, perhaps, just for an hour, they retreated temporarily to a handful of hard-nosed records from Bucktown's militia.