Review Summary: The rare occasion when a prior mixtape release outshines the actual LP.
It's been a busy year for the Slaughterhouse collective; besides dropping their long-awaited, self-titled, disappointing debut - nearly each member has dropped a solo joint. From Joe Budden's mediocre series of look-I'm-so-crazy themed records to Crooked I's promising Mr. Pig Face Weapon Waist
EP, nothing has made an impact outside of the group LP... well, until (kind of) Royce da 5'9"s oft-postponed Street Hop
. Supposedly due for release in Q1 2009, Royce instead decided to merely whet the appetite of fan and critic alike with July's The Revival
EP. Sputnikmusic's own Jared Dillon lauded the effort, praising Royce's verbal assault, while expounding frustration at his poor beat selection. So here we are in October, and Street Hop
is finally here - after a delay so lengthy, shouldn't there exist at least a modicum of quality control?
Unfortunately, not only are the cuts off The Revival
here in full (a complete EP faux pas and slap to the face of all those who purchased it), but it also seems as if no serious thought went into further beat selection. Initially advertised as a coming out party of sorts by way of legendary DJ Premier, even Premo's contributions sound liked phoned in B-Sides. In fact, besides relative no-names Emile and FreQuency, the remaining menagerie of productions is inconsistent at best; where Nottz and Mr. Porter put forth bangers in "Street Hop 2010" and "Mine In Thiz" respectively, in other moments they either fall flat on their face or are complimented with amateurish hooks and choruses. Indeed, this disconnect between vocalist and producer is most notably embarrassing on Street Hop
as a whole; this poor composition is a serious and unforgivable flaw. The mainstream dabbling of "Something 2 Ride 2" and "New Money" specifically are points of contention, providing vivid examples of these grievous detractors. That's not to say Royce da 5'9" can't still rap circles around anyone and even put out an interesting club joint - barring Busta Rhymes' intrusion (to say the least), "Dinner Time" is one of his most innovative cuts since 2008's "Losing Out", while "Bad Boy" is a brilliant electro-come-dancehall romp. "Soldier" creatively meshes his signature lyricism with a unique FreQuency beat, while the duology (in reverse order?) of "On the Run" and "Murder" shows fleeting glimpses of what this release could have been. But even then, the unfunny and unnecessarily lengthy skit of the former proves that when Street Hop
does something right, it tries its hardest to do something wrong in opposition.
One would think three months would give ample time to sort out sequencing flaws, trim the fat, and put out a top-notch product; yet in the case of Street Hop
, this couldn't be further from the truth. Nineteen lazily arranged tracks and nearly fifty percent filler later, this is a far cry from the excellent Death Is Certain
- but more importantly (or frustratingly), this isn't the classic fans were expecting. This is the rare occasion when a prior mixtape release outshines the actual LP, as The Album
is a much better product as a whole.