Although he has been on the music scene since the mid –nineties, Statik Selektah’s Extended Play is only his fifth official studio release. It comes at an interesting time in hop-hop where the music is divided fiercely between the radio hit makers and the underground kings gaining listeners by the day. No matter what side you personally support, these different worlds collide beautifully on an album. Here we see a fusion of old school greats, main stream stars and up and coming heroes. The result is a genuine sound from all MCs involved backed by such a skilled producer. The scratch work is solid, the samples are creatively employed and the drums used add a hard edge to most of the beats. It is truly refreshing to see a true DJ like Statik behind the beats of songs.
Any project backed by a man known for king quality like Statik Selektah is bound to have hits. ‘21 & over’ features the lyrical best from both Sean Price and Mac Millar. Funeral Season implements a grimy Jadakiss sample while Styles P, Bun B and Hit Boy rap about violence in the streets. ‘Bring Em Up Dead’ has Joell Ortiz does his usual work on the song supported by the powerful horns and driving drum kit of the instrumental. ‘Live from the Era’ has a beat that impresses more than rhymes thanks to help from the Alchemist. ‘Game Break’ involves excellent rhymes about being a better person through music from all rappers involved with a great vocal sample from Biggie. The album closes out strong with ‘Home’, a song with Talib Kweli expertly rhyming about the importance of family and a positive home setting.
There are a fair number of forgettable songs such as ‘East Coast’, ‘Make Believe’ and ‘Big City of Dreams’. On most other albums, songs like these would have been passable but being put up against the other stellar tracks of Extended Play renders them irrelevant. This is this biggest weakness of the album as it suffers from prioritizing quantity over quality. Cutting out the less memorable songs from the track list could have elevated Extended Play to a different level.
Statik Selektah’s Extended Play is not only a great DJ album but also a catalogue and survey of the face of hip hop today. Whether you like what you see depends on personal preference but the range of talent and instrumental gems Selektah has assembled for this project will fail to impress no one.
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