Review : Various Artists - ATL RMX
PitchforkIt probably says less about the State of Hip-Hop than it reads, but Adult Swim, an offshoot of the Cartoon Network, is now one of the most trustworthy names in the genre. Doubt their cred if you must, but you can't doubt their sincerity: With all due respect, you don't release Witchdoctor albums in 2009 if you're just in it for a quick buck. Beyond that, they eased in naturally since there was always heavy overlap between the fanbases of, say, MF DOOM and "Aqua Teen Hunger Force". However, ATL RMX departs Adult Swim's safety zone for something more controversially curatorial: something called "Imma G (Memory Tapes Remix)" by Dem Getaway Boyz isn't some prank along the lines of Trent Reznor's Strobe Light-- it's the actual third track here, and pretty typical of what to expect, some of electronic/hip-hop's bigger producers reconfiguring a murderer's row of Atlanta rappers who... okay, let's be upfront: If you've had a discussion with someone concerned about the obsolescence of "lyrical" hip-hop, I'm almost certain you got an earful about how the MCs on ATL RMX are at fault.
But even if El-P and Young Jeezy are the battle lines upon which ideological wars about what constitutes "real" hip-hop are fought, wouldn't it be worthwhile to see if there's any crossover between each's unique and impactful take on urban dystopia? They're both really good at what they do-- it's worth a shot. But is it worth a listen? Well, ATL RMX's first track, Jeezy's "I Got This (El-P Remix)" bangs like crazy, but it does so in a weirdly individualized way. It takes a monster of a beat to make Jeezy sound overwhelmed, and his boasts end up as a nearly incidental sound effect under all those clip-emptying drums and enjambed female vocal interjections (this mixtape appears to exist only as a "clean version"... that doesn't necessarily help). I'd love to hear more, but maybe if Jeezy heard the beat first?
Still, ATL RMX starts out strong: DJA adds a buzzier backing track to Rich Kids' "Patna Dem", but it's the irrepressibly emphatic chanting that's going to sell it every time. "Imma G" has a strangely sweet and sour tropical taste and essentially becomes a typical Memory Tapes track by its midway point, suggesting Dayve Hawk has incorporated more hip-hop into his sound than he's often given credit for. There's also honest to god rapping from Cee-Lo. If that doesn't justify this mixtape's completely nonexistent download cost, I don't know what to tell you....full text
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