The 2019 Album I Missed Out On
By the time I named Griselda the 2019 MVP I was dead focused on the four members on the T-Shirt: Benny The Butcher, Westside Gunn, Daringer and Conway The Machine. What I missed: Griselda exists within an ecosystem of ILL New York rappers who grow and improve outside of the big apple spotlight. It’s not just about the top 3 MC’s and their producer it’s about the depth of the talent pool they are swimming with.
The compilation album 1994 is the best proof of that. Like the trio from Buffalo 38 Spesh doesn’t reside where the industry action is. He is from Rochester and the secret ingredient/ 5th Beatle of the gang. I knew he was a top level MC because he’s held his own next to Benny on multiple projects (Stabbed & Shot, Cocaine Cowboys). What I hadn’t taken in is how fantastic his production is.
The premise: Hip hop produced incredible songs in the year 1994. This is the finest (mostly underground mostly NY) talent over those tracks…except…they aren’t the same beats. 38 Spesh changes them a little. Enough for it to be noticeable and impressive. My go-to example is PLO Style with Planet Asia and Flashius Clayton. That familiar deep burbling thump is now the center and light strings and horns accompany it. You might think this isn’t an incredible feat but you mustn’t heard many mash ups. It is quite easy to staple new sounds onto a classic beat and screw it up.
All Mc’s hold down their duties on the project, not a bad verse is left on wax. Grafth and Cory Gunz give you that mixtape energy on Bring The Pain and leave the mic smoking. I’ve always had a soft spot for Gunz who is really next level when he is focused. He isn’t the only established name killing it. On Mass Appeal Fred The Godson and FME classic artist Rain 910 have a ball stretching out and ripping the Gangstarr classic to shreds.
The best thing about 1994 is the people you don’t know. You should fall deeply in love with both RJ Payne and Che Noir on NY State Of Mind. Payne absolutely roars every syllable like he’s in a battle on 106 and Park. Noir is the kind of slick monotone flow that shows no cracks and always manages patching together vivid personal images with clever slick talk. Rim Da Villain and Hus Kingpin own Stress, you’ll need to rewind that one a few times. Flee Lord is comfortable and dynamic over the Jeru The Damaja classic Come Clean. I can’t front the main attraction is Never Seen A Man Cry which features Conway The Machine, 38 Spesh, and Benny the Butcher. You need to hear Benny kick that song off with greatest in the world energy. Listening to Benny on Never Seen A Man Cry is like watching my 76ers crumble under the weight of Kawhi Leonard’s unstoppable cyborg game 7 performance(I’m totally over it!). He sets the pace and the others run at that speed. This album is so dope it has me running through bandcamp bumping all of the various artists past projects. It’s a lot of fun if you want to try it with me.
1994 Bandcamp link:
RocAmerikka by Eto x Flee Lord
Juno by Che Noir produced by 38 Spesh
Martyr’s Prayer by El Camino produced by 38 Spesh