You know the world's
spinning something strange when Mixtapeone decides to review a DJ Envy mixtape.
But in fact, Mr. Sirius has awoken up from all that Hit List madness to deliver
a strong, if even compelling, comeback tape complete with the freestyles and
exclusives we've been waiting for. If you vibe to Envy weekdays on Hip Hop Nation
or Monday nights on Wax, you know the man's style is packing that R&B flavor
and hard exclusives from NY's finest. Speaking of Sirius promotion, "So
Serious" is that cut, laced in full Lil Jon drum tones to new Styles P
bars for the club (!!!). With Jada touching all coasts with "Time's Up,"
the Ghost nattily appeases to the down bottom with a joint that should capture
at least gold tasting. "Everybody Get Up" from Fat Joe doesn't impress
as much as his earlier cuts "Safe 2 Say," "So Much More,"
or "My 44," of course popping here, as the club attempt fails with
a Timbaland giveaway. Impressing heavily on the 80s-tip, however, is the beat-flipping
"Listen Baby" which screams throwback with touches of originality.
That's a great sample behind Joe's verses, while his appearance on Ray J's "Keep
Sweating"-on that recycled club R&B garb-will be a something pounding
subs like it or not. Actually, the vocals on that joint are on some ol' Bobby
Brown ish. Not bad at all. That track is sandwiched between the already-rising
star Amerie's "Man Up" and "One Thing (Remix)." While these
songs don't appear to be exclusives, they indeed are as versions come in full.
Don't be fooled. The same verity goes for 112's "You Already Know"
not only featuring Foxy Brown but Ja Rule as well. The Def Jam album drops this
featuring The Lady Carmen and Mobb Deep's Prodigy is a tempting piece with charming
instrumentation, but lacks powerful enough vocals to make it anything more than
middling. Nonetheless, P sounds reenergized, even over the soft percussion melodies.
Toni Braxton, I mean Shelly (a boy nonetheless), is sure "Down to Ride"
over less-than-emphatic synths that do feature a funny appearance from the now-again-street-respected
Cassidy. What wonders one joint will do for you. The most anticipated joint
this year aside from The Massacre is The B Coming, also dropping this week,
and full versions of the somber, heartfelt Boola-produced "Oh Daddy"
and the already classic Aqua-laced, stress-fighting and heart-pumping "Can't
Go On This Way" should keep the hunger on pause 'til its release. Real
talk: "I was taught trust in Allah but still tie up ya Camel / Use your
tongue as your sword and your books as your ammo / But when them bullets start
flyin' and you got pussies around you / And who you rely on and let them niggas
surround you? / It made me felt like young Kenner / From the start I was finished
/ How a nigga gonna start with a finish and begin with an ending?" Young
Chris appears with Beans on both cuts, while "Tonight" with Neef and
Daz delivers the smoked-out combination of whispering freestyle Philly flows
and G-Funk licks and kicks. I wonder how well Q-Tip's Amplified would be accepted
in these days of club and mainstream tactics. Would he be as chastised as he
was for "Vivrant Thing" or revered today for mass appeal? Something
to ponder. The apparent Neptunes experiment on Tip and Busta's "For The
Nasty" presents a brand new sound, much like "Vivrant Thing"
did when that type of "sell-out" stuff was not a good move. There
are more goodies on Blackout (an extremely rare B.I.G. & Mr. Cee freestyle
and semi-interesting Bow Wow club banger) and if you're into a solid mix of
Rap and R&B that covers all the corners, go nowhere else but Envy.