Artist: M.O.P.Title: The Mash Out PosseRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Remmie Fresh
I’m no workout fanatic, but I’m trying to get better. Whenever I did workout, it was driven by hardcore music. In the early 90’s I was driven to lift weights by the Geto Boys and their superior brand of gangsta/shock rap (“Mind of a Lunatic”). During that period, I never threw up so much iron. I slumped in the mid-90s (d##### Ma$e), but in the later part of the decade, it was DMX and Ja Rule’s gravely voices that motivated me to take on boxing and slug it out.
For the most part, Hip-Hop’s gone soft in recent years thanks to all these heartthrob gangsta rappers. Fortunately, I recently started training like Arnold Schwarzenegger preparing for “Conan the Barbarian.” Thanks MOP. The Mash Out Posse’s latest foray into hardcore comes in the form of a self-titled heavy metal outing, the result of a collaboration with Brooklyn rockers Shiner Massive. The album is a collection of covers and also some wholly original songs – most of which are bound to resurrect the mosh pit in rap. (In my case, the death of my gut.)
The 13-cut album is a clinic on how to rock hard without compromising anything Hip-Hop. This is Run-DMC and Aerosmith. This is Public Enemy and Anthrax. This is Ice-T and Bodycount. This ISN’T Limp Bizkit and Method Man. (No disrespect Meth! You too Primo.)
As emergency sirens shriek, the album leaps into the mosh with “Conquerors” and MOP’s William Burkowitz (normally known as Billy Danz) and Fizzy Womack (Lil’ Fame) pummel the heavy guitar backdrop. When paired with Shiner Massive, MOP don’t change their hip-hop head banger ethic, they take it up a notch. This refusal to change manifests itself best on “Get The F**k Outta Here,” one of the albums most potent joints. As if possessed, Fizzy spits, “You in a headlock position, my name ain’t Richie Rich/ Be a ni**a, deal with ya s**t, stop acting b##### b####/ …I’ll brass knuckle your face/ Bust ya snot box might even have to pop shots/ that’s how O.G.’s do it on my block.” Oftentimes, the relentlessly, brutal guitars drown out the rap pair – but not often.
The Mash Out Posse fares much better than their first attempt at metal, 1998’s Handle Ur Bizness EP. Then the group mixed keyboard instruments with live ones with equally mixed results. In 2004, they hit the bullseye with a hollow point bullet destroying the target. Other like-minded songs including “Put It In The Air,” “Stand Up,” “Robbin’ Hoodz” [Ante Up] and “Fire” prove to be more than ample for frat boys looking to burn off some energy.
There are no down sides to The Mash Out Posse, truth be told. The only adverse point is a few of the newer songs fail to match the originals. For example, while the first “Ground Zero” was basically a mixtape joint, its ancestor isn’t as developed or as durable. And “Hilltop Flava,” a play off the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn,” only makes you want to hear MCA, Ad Rock and Mike D’s mic antics.
Nitpicking aside, MOP’s mentality has gone from gangsta to trendsetters. Hip-hop is waning and it’s high time that crews take some risks, sweat a little and give the people their money’s worth, on stage and on wax. Now, let me get back to my own sweaty workout.