The Most Underrated

Artist: DomingoTitle: The Most UnderratedRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Bill Zimmerman

After more than a decade of making beats for a variety of artists including Big Pun, Fat Joe, Masta Ace and KRS-One, and getting no mainstream recognition, Brooklyn producer Domingo puts his skills at the forefront. On the The Most Underrated (Latchkey) the NYC based producer du jour assembles an impressive lineup of well-respected artists who deliver some back-to-the-essence East Coast Hip-Hop. Throughout the album he utilizes his thumping beats to rejuvenate veterans such as Big Daddy Kane, Guru and Heltah Skeltah and help newcomers such as Joell Ortiz, Termanology and Born Unique show their budding skills.

The best example of a vet returning to form is "Bed Stuy Represent" with Big Daddy Kane. Domingo’s heavy drums and horns give Kane his swagger back as he drops witty lines such as "Cut the mustard and the Dijon/I'm comin' straight from the Brooknam region/Always keep your heat on." Aftermath Records rookie and fellow Brooklynite Joell Ortiz gives a brief but memorable performance on "Exactly" using backward spelling to chastise other MCs and ending it with "Y'all muthaf****rs are backwards in the E-M-A-G/That's exactly why I spit the way I D-I-D."

Not everything on this is pure East Coast bliss though. The usually reliable Beatnuts deliver a so-so performance on "Get Live" with a simplistic hook, and Domingo's organ keys are just too repetitive. The guitar-heavy beat on "100 Roundz" doesn't mesh well with Kool G Rap's street talk and that track also becomes filler.

Nevertheless, The Most Underrated does make a good case for Domingo deserving more attention, but just as his catalog includes quality album cuts and no smash hits, this album lacks that big single that could create a big buzz. But, Domingo may be content with his underrated status. Judging by the rappers he got for this project, he already has a solid rep among his peers.