Camp Lo
Uptown Saturday Night


4.5
superb

Review

by Tupik USER (12 Reviews)
February 18th, 2013 | 37 replies


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist


It should come as no surprise to most readers that the 90s is considered as the most prolific period for Hip-Hop music as far as classic material goes, and many albums have been somewhat left behind and forgotten as time passed by, buried under the flock of undisputable classics in the vein of Ready to Die, Me Against the World, Illmatic and many others. As far as these "forgotten classics" go, Uptown Saturday Night in particular is one that is very sparsely mentioned, even though it is without a doubt in my mind one of the strongest albums to come out in the late 90s.

Hailing from the Bronx, New York, Sonny Cheebah and Geechi Suede are the two members of Camp Lo, mostly known for this album, which is their only one to ever receive much attention and critical success. On Uptown Saturday Night, the duo has one of the best chemistry to have ever been witnessed on a hip-hop record, a back-and-forth tour de force akin to Mobb Deep's, A Tribe Called Quest's or Binary Star's finest moments. Much in the latter's fashion, both MCs have similar voices, but there is still a distinct difference in the style of both MCs, Sonny Cheebah serving as the more aggressive and in-your-face nemesis to Geechi Suede's laid-back and somewhat tantalizing voice. This difference enables them to create a dynamic between the two styles, which is one of the stronger aspects of this LP. Both Geechi's and Cheebah's flows are very slick and smooth, and it is a wonder how much aggressivity they can put in their delivery while never losing that laid-back and smoother-than-ever aesthetic.

As you can guess from the album's title and cover, Uptown Saturday Night is centered around partying, and is much less in the vein of most hardcore rap albums at the time, which focused more on the toughness of the streets than on the finer moments in life. Although the street feeling and the violence stemming from it is still very clearly present, what we hear more about is the description of a party atmosphere, full with champagne flowing ("Sparkle" in particular), girl-chasing and generally having a good time. However, contrary to other fun albums at the time such as the Pharcyde's Bizarre Ride, the delivery and tone is still pretty serious, staying very hard-hitting and focused from beginning to end. The lyrical part is almost an afterthought here, it certainly isn't bad but is clearly a vessel for entertaining rhymes and devastating flows. This is a very singular rap album in that while the party vibe is present throughout the whole album, it is nowhere near being club music or anything remotely close to it, as the beats, provided by legendary producer Ski for the most part (You might know him for having produced much of Jay-Z's classic Reasonable Doubt, as well as Curren$y's Pilot Talk series more recently) are very much in the vein of the jazz-rap style of that era, staying in that lane of soulful samples and jazzy rhythms. In the end, it is closer to an Illmatic than a Tribe's kind of vibe, as the street grittiness is still very present, in the beats as much as in the delivery of the rappers' lines. Party songs like "Luchini", "Rockin it" or "Black Nostaljack", with their use of cheerful brassy tones are perfectly complemented with sinister and even menacing songs such as "Negro League" or "Krystal Karrington".

What makes this album so special stems from the same thing that makes it somewhat forgettable compared to the other classics I cited earlier: It is a perfect blend of pure hardcore street-rap and sophisticated jazz-rap. The fact that it so perfectly executes a proven recipe from beginning to end is what makes it so strong and such an enjoyable listen, but it being a continuation of the style that sparked many classics before Uptown Saturday Night can make it unremarkable as far as originality and freshness. However, I still consider this as a must-listen for hip-hop fans, as it is very rare for an album to capture an atmosphere as well as it is done on here, and there are extremely few missteps to lower the entertainment value, which is very high thanks to the combination of top-notch rapping and high-quality beats. This album is the culmination of the jazz-rap movement, just before it faded out of the mainstream sound, and can be mentioned in the same breath as "The Low End Theory", "Do You Want More?!!!??!" and other classics of the genre.



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user ratings (48)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2013


15035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

finally!!! i was just about to review this!

i have a lot of thoughts about this album. it's not perfect but i think it's one of my favorites--sometimes it might be #1. "coolie high" "luchini" and "sparkle mr midnight mix" are all absolutely immaculate

EaglesBecomeVultures
February 18th 2013


5239 Comments


classic
pos'd hard

Digging: Yung Lean - Unknown Memory

PorkchopExpress
February 18th 2013


387 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Holy. Shit.

This didn't have a review before this? That's outrageous! Great review for an album that's so, so deserving of one.

Tupik
February 18th 2013


672 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah I was sure it had one too so when I went on the page today I was like wtf so I started writing it
right away. Glad you people like it.

This isn't perfect like robertsona said, but it has sooo many great moments, as close to a classic as
it gets for me.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2013


15035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

say WORD

PorkchopExpress
February 18th 2013


387 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"Krystal Karrington" is such a perfect opening track for an album.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2013


15035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

porkchop help me out i dont like below the heavens very much convince me that i should

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2013


6109 Comments


Lol was just looking at this yesterday thinking it needed a feature, good work buddy.

PorkchopExpress
February 18th 2013


387 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

@robertsona

Ha, that's funny. I was actually late to getting to "Below The Heavens", so when I first heard it, it had all sorts of hype behind it. I was disappointed the first few times I heard it. That isn't to say I disliked it, I just didn't love it. I think it was due to the fact that it had been hyped so much to me, and also the fact that "The Narrow Path" is so goddamn good that the rest of the album just didn't match up.

However, I came back to it a few months later, and after a few more listens it clicked. So for me, it was a grower. Not sure how many times you've listened to it or how long it's been, but come back to it down the road and see if you feel any different.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 18th 2013


15035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

cool

i think i'll write a not-so-positive review just cuz i wanna get thru as amyn hip hop reviews as possible but i will definitely keep an open mind

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013


15035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

have u guys ever lookedat some archibald motley paintings theyre like this album butp aintings

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2013


15035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbaJjBXPsWY also this is the best song ever

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 4th 2013


15035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

SCORED LIKE 10 ON MY IQ TEST

Gyromania
March 12th 2013


15710 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this album is too fucking good, seriously. coolie high all night long

Gyromania
March 12th 2013


15710 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

also i totally agree with the archibald motley assertion. i mean:
americangallery.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/sugar-shack.jpg

Gyromania
March 12th 2013


15710 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

idk why that's saying bad url, but if you copy/paste to the browser it works

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 12th 2013


15035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

that painting is actually by ernie barnes, i think. it serves as the cover to marvin gaye's "i want you", the cover of which was inspiration for this album's cover.

but basically all of those were inspired by archibald motley

Gyromania
March 12th 2013


15710 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

oh damn, my bad. definitely looks like something he would do. i've been thinking that was his for a while

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2013


15035 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

after how much time as a staffer is it acceptable to write one of those 10,000-word Experimental Reviews cuz i got an itchin to do that for this one

Gyromania
March 18th 2013


15710 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i think you're allowed to do it as soon as you're promoted! i'd definitely read it just as long as 10,000 words is a huge exaggeration lol



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