The Piece Maker 2

Artist: Tony TouchTitle: The Piece Maker 2Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Vaughn C

Tony Touch assembles an all-star line up to catalogue another worthy installment for the DJ that raised the stakes in the mixtape world with his 50 MC’s trilogy. In a time when mixtapes are generally some hype man’s one chance to score a hit single, or a compilation of 1,000 punchlines by the “he’s so hot right now” rapper from the “we’re here for the crown” crew, Tony raises the bar again with The Piece Maker 2. Slick Rick, Redman, Masta Ace, Pete Rock, Large Professor, Erick Sermon, Method Man and more, and more, come out of hiding to remind pretend emcees how to wield a mic properly.

Still reppin his Taino Indian roots to the fullest, The Piece Maker 2 is packed with soulful congo beats, bilingual skits and flows, and The Diaz Brother’s (DJ Doo Wop & Tony Touch) signature spanglish style. And of course where there’s spanglish there’s N.O.R.E., who gets together with Fat Joe and JuJu to do unspeakable things to the rumbling “Capicu,” one of the stronger joints on the album.

The star power turning out for The Piece Maker 2 is to be expected, as we all know Tony Touch gets tall props. But, the talent didn’t just show it shone. Slick Rick’s installation “Trouble on the Westside Highway” is the same story-telling flow mastery in a new scenario that we all thought we would lose; but never fear, straight from the yard, The Ruler’s Back! The Def Squad assembles Keith Murray, Redman and The Green Eyed Bandit on a joint that reminds you why we’re still waiting on a real Keith Murray album. His flow is still the madness and no matter what he’s flowing about, you still get the feeling that he might lose it at any minute. Raekwon and Method Man shoots darts over some light snares on “Rock Steady” whose hook goes “been sellin’ crack, been sellin’ crack, been sellin’ crack. . . .”-gutter enough for you?

Tony Toca reaches for a gift from the crossover Gods on “Ay Ay Ay,” a Sean Paul duo that sounds like what a Tony Touch and Sean Paul duo would sound like. He makes up for the ill-conceived collabo shortly after by teaming up with dead prez on “Touch 1 Touch All” to remind us that Brown people of the world should stick together. It’s no doubt a worthy message with M1 reminding us that, “the police are straight puto.”

There are some less than memorable verses by Tony Touch who doesn’t need to be reminded not to quit his day job, so I won’t. His eclectic mix of emcees and beats calls for the album to be released in cassette tape format only for the sake of authenticity. With skull thumping beats and rhymes while presenting names like P. Diddy, Q-Unique, Large Professor, Hurricane G, and Nature all on one CD, you cant be mad. Overall, Tony Touch is still helping to make our Hip-Hop community a more sonically bearable place.