Normally I don't
review R&B and Reggae, only when it hits upon a weekly pause tape I'll make
note of its balance within the HipHop. Crack Cookaz is a different commodity
altogether however; it's a blends album divided in three different sections
by three different deejays. Street Sweepers may be the most popular of mixtape
groups-with Evil Empire, Catch 22, and Tapemasters Inc. narrowly behind-but
who of those groups aside from Kay Slay and Radio do we really know? Noizemob
doesn't hide behind any moniker, and Unexpected we all know as a respected blend
arteest. With that, it's no surprise who shines the most. I'm not a huge fan
of Reggae, in fact, I prefer Reggaeton (shoutout to Dexterity kid), but the
Reggae Thug segment of this CD is easily its best. Sizzla, who we know from
Mobb Deep and D-Block cuts as of late, does his thing over beats produced by
Eminem and Daz that ironically sound-all-too-similar; good work DJ Unexpected,
exposing Eminem's influences. Just like a beginning, there's an end, and Sizzla
finishes with "Streetside Knowledge," which takes back the traditional
bouncy Reggae from the days of Shabba Ranks over some chirpy beats. There's
no secret Reggae has a history of strong social commentary, but a song called
"Bun Out Gay Guys"? It's a funny cover of Outkast's latest smash,
blended with the somber keys from that Brand Nubian and Loon joint. Elephant
Man's second cut "Get Low" is the apparent tribute to Chill Will.
The big names of this genre, Bounty Hunter, Capleton, and Buju Banton come through
over some of the hottest beats you wouldn't expect: "Ante Up," "Four
Alarm Blaze," "The Heist," and a whole slew of others ranging
from Bahamadia, Big Pun to Rampage that'll bring you back to when reggae was
The rest of the
disc is whole other entity. As my mans Dimez pointed out in an earlier review,
the mixtape is called Crack Cookaz, yet 18 of the tape's 35 are R&B? The
intro and skits don't make any sense using New Jack City because this one says
CUDDLY shit all over it. Check Razah's "Feel So Good" over grrr "Candy
Shop." This is the first track! How many heads lookin' at Crack Cookaz
do you think are gonna keep listening? Hopefully more than Noizemob thinks.
112 typically gets that street respect for being Bad Boys who jumped the Def
Jam totem pole, so "Feels So Good" over Slum Village's "Selfish"
is fantastic. I could've done without Ashanti (twice), Destiny's Child, or Brandy.
Really. That ain't that crack. "Let Me Love You" over "Drop It
Like Its Hot"? That took a while to think of. "Let Me Love You"
appears again(!!)-as if the radio doesn't play it enough-and let's just say
Mario and Midnight Marauders don't mix. At least the blends of Keshia Cole's
"I Changed My Mind," Xavier's "Crazy," and Rahiem's "Who
Loves U More" all have that added street edge to it. And yeah, Guerilla
Black is in this segment. The last two blends are so off-base you'd think David
Ortiz was slidin'. Silencer DJ Supreme, from the same mean streets of Boston
as yours truly, takes charge of the Hip-Hop section and its ups and downs go
along with the rest of the disc. Further proof Nas should get Alchemist on the
wheels is "Hold Me Down" behind "Get Down," and "You
Ain't A Killer" blend to the Puffy beat, but why do some blend deejays
constantly forget about matching up the hooks? And if I hear another "I'm
A Hustler," "Bring Em Out" or "Why" blend I'm gonna
cringe; "Tit 4 Tat" has too many beats; while the "New York"
remix, separating each of the verses with different beats, works as well as
milk mixed with grape juice. Pending which side of this mixtape spectrum you
coming from, the choice is yours.