2-1-5, prepare for glory
Most mornings, I barely manage to drag myself out of the sheets. To curse the sun, cursorily swipe the brush across my teeth, and slump a drowsy path over to the coffeemaker. For a half-hour, before that chemical jolt sets in, I’m just zombie-walking between rooms. I'm futilely trying convince myself I should put on my work pants or maybe even comb my hair. By contrast, the duo behind Clean Guns have probably already recorded three songs, done a remix, laid down two new beats, run a marathon, and finished a really difficult jigsaw puzzle.
How else can you explain their prodigious output? It’s either good drugs or a work ethic unseen since the Puritans hit these shores. Since their debut album Sometimes There Is Trouble dropped in late 2005, they’ve been near-nonstop in fattening up their catalogue. The Living in Harmony mixtape followed in ’06, the World Domination Producer Series with World Domination Headquarters in ’07, and now we get the twenty-six-track-deep Yadibox: The Mixtape landing in our laps right on cue. Add the prospect of their two solo debuts on the horizon, and I start feeling like a coma patient in comparison.
What's even more impressive is how consistently strong the quality is. You'd think that by stretching themselves so thin, they'd run out of steam or start watering down the sound with inferior product. Instead, they only seem to be growing more confident. Their productions feel more self-assured, their arsenal of lyrical weapons is steadily expanding. With every release, they're also crossing some new frontier. With Living in Harmony, it was putting their personal stamp on borrowed beats and with ...World Domination, it was adapting to the style of a new producer. On Yadibox..., it's all about mastering the art of the teamup, as Zilla Rocca and Nico the Beast partner with fellow Phillies Triple Nickels.
Pretty much every permutation gets representation, as Triple Nickels MCs D.A.M.E. and M.O.G. and DJ Hannibal serve up solo songs in addition to collaborations with Zilla or Nico or both. When all five men show up on a track, they go by the name of the Fairmount Park Commission. Throw in other prominent Beat Garden Entertainment associates like ASK? and 2ew Gunn Ciz, and you've not only gotten enough permutations for an SAT question, but a potent array of talent to choose from. All these various matchups must be as stimulating for the rappers as the listeners, because everyone steps up his game accordingly. With any album boasting twenty-six tracks, you inevitably expect a lot of filler, but Yadibox... comes off remarkably lean and hungry. The middle section especially tends to play more like a greatest hits collection than a mixtape.
Highlights will vary by taste, as there's enough here to please any discriminating rap aficionado. But particular standouts right now include Nico's "Slingblade Flow" (especially for his fantastic opening threat, "And for me? I'll kidnap your mom!"), Blessa and Nico's "Too Real," and Zilla and Triple Nickels' "Fuck A Hook." Best of all though is the kickoff jam "Prepare For Glory" from the full-squad Fairmount Park Commission, a guns-drawn salvo that announces its intentions like a kick in the teeth. Laying everything on the line, it's a winner-take-all mission statement that actually delivers on its promises. Lately, that's the song I've been setting my alarm to wake me up with. Every morning, it blasts through the speakers at six forty-six a.m. and actually propels me out of bed. It reminds me that there's a whole fucking world out there to conquer, that music this fresh just can't be slept on.
Get Yadibox: The Mixtape now for a sick six bucks here.
* MP3: "Prepare For Glory" - The Fairmount Park Commission from Yadibox: The Mixtape
* MP3: "Slingblade Flow" - Nico the Beast from Yadibox: The Mixtape [Buy it]