The culture of Hip Hop started with a DJ and a break beat, but somewhere along the way the DJ fell into the backdrop, pushed aside by his fellow emcee's and rejected by mainstream America. However, the past couple of years has seen the rise of the DJ once again, as the culture of Turntabalism has grown enormously world wide. Not only Turntabalists, but also mixtape DJ's have seen a great deal of prosperity, as mixtape's have grown to become one of the hottest commodities in the Hip-Hop market. Nowadays, you see artists such as 50 Cent make a name for themselves solely through mixtapes, an occurrence unheard of the past few years. While there are thousands of mixtape DJ's flooding the market, one of the biggest names the last 5 years has undoubtedly been The Drama King, DJ Kay Slay.
The 4 time mixtape champion has steadily churned out quality mixtapes the past couple years, as his arrogant and street influenced image and persona swept across NYC, making him the biggest mixtape DJ in the nation. While Kay Slay has had unparalleled success in the mixtape industry, its hard to believe he has still not struck it rich in the mainstream light with his own major label mixtape. While others such as DJ Clue & DJ Envy have offered their own major label albums, none have turned out as successful as planed. Looking to changed all of that and bring Hip-Hop back to the streets, DJ Kay Slay offers his debut album "The Street Sweeper Vol. 1".
While almost every mixtape DJ who has set foot with a commercial mixtape has failed, Kay Slay defies the odds and actually puts forth one of the better commercially released albums in recent history. "The Street Sweeper Vol. 1" is like those that have come before it, featuring a huge variety in artists and sounds. But where others have failed, mainly in the production area and in filler material, Kay Slay shines bright offering a nice variety, while cutting down on the filler material at the same time.
As with any mixtape, Slay gathers an assortment of emcees from all over the Hip-Hop spectrum. The finest of these attempts comes from the Ez-Elpee produced "I Never Like Ya Ass" featuring Scarface, Fat Joe & Raekwon. Without a doubt, the track is easily the albums finest cut, as the street banger is nothing but a success. Each emcee tears the track apart, as we even get a glimpse of Fat Joe, Raekwon & Scarface's glory days, spitting those hard-core rhymes we all love. Elpee's sample of "I Was Made For Love" should not go unnoticed, as the tracks production is nothing but flawless, giving it that gritty NYC thug vibe. "Coast To Coast Gangstas" is another nice attempt to bring different artists from all over the Hip-Hop world together on one track. The Dame Grease produced track features a nice sample of Dr. Dre's classic "A Nigga Witta Gun" off of the timeless masterpiece "The Chronic". As mentioned the track features a fairly odd conglomerate of emcees from each coast, consisting of Sauce Money, Joe Buddens, WC, Bun B, Killer Mike & Hak Ditty. Thankfully Dame's production behind the boards lifts the track past the clump of average to good emcees, even though Sauce Money, Killer Mike, WC and even Joe Buddens come correct with their lyrical game. While "Coast To Coast Gangstas" is definitely a sound we have heard time and time again, it's an entertaining track that will certainty catch your attention.
Joining "I Never Liked You Ass" & "Coast To Coast Gangstas" in the nice pile of variety on "Street Sweepers Vol. 1" is the surprising dirty south sounds of "Put That Thing Down" featuring Eightball, MJB & Jagged Edge. Along with one of the more unique tracks in recent memory "The Champions featuring Kay Slay, Doo Wop, Tony Touch, DJ Clue, Funkmaster Flex, S&S, Brucie B, Kid Capri & Ron G. With a lineup of some of Hip Hop's greatest DJ's, plus or minus a few, "The Champions" features not the DJ's doing their usual cuts but instead rapping, yes you heard right. Kay Slay, Doo Wop, Tony Touch, Kid Capri & Ron G all step up to the mic and play the other side of the fence for once. To everyone's surprise, the song actually comes off as one of the album's highlights, as each DJ showcases some nice skills on the mic, even Kay Slay, who can also spit a hot verse. The album's "Intro" featuring Aaron Hall is the only other time we get a glimpse of Slay on the mic. While Kay Slay will admit he is not an emcee, he actually can spit pretty well, a lot better than everyone would assume. He offers an emotional and heartfelt track of pain, struggle and hardships with the albums "Intro", dissecting his life growing up and the death of his grandfather.
While a lot of the variety of "The Street Sweeper Vol. 1" is a nice change of pace, the albums does get bogged down with a couple lackluster performances from some horrible posse cuts. "Seven Deadly Sins" featuring Vita, Angie Martinez, Duchess, Lady May, Amil, Sonja Blade & Remy Martin is more like a showcasing of Hip Hop's female bench warmers on the mic than the great posse cut it was supposed to be. Now if the track included "Rah Digga, Lady Of Rage, Bahamadia, Lauren Hill, MC Lyte, Queen Latifah & Roxanne Shante; that would be a different story. A track also full of below level players is the rookie collaborations of Posta Boy, Shells, Cassidy, Grafh & J-Hood on "New Jack City". While the Ez-Elpee production is on point, the only emcees that can be even looked at as decent are D-Block member J-Hood & HBO's blaze battle runner up Shells. Other than those two emcees, the rest are nothing but your run of the mill type mixtape emcees.
The rest of "The Street Sweeper Vol. 1" is filled with your typical NYC sounds you would expect to hear. 50 Cent comes through with another street anthem on "50 Shot Ya", as does Mobb Deep on "Get Shot The Fuck Up". Both are your typical Q.B. sounds that will be bumping in your system all summer long. More solids tracks include, Styles P & newcomer Bristal, who come through with a solid attempt on "I Got U", along with the remix to Fat Joe's "Take A Look At My Life" featuring Remy Martin & A Bless. The Diplomats "Purple Haze" is a nice weed smoking anthem, but could have been done without, considering it was already featured on the Diplomats album. The remaining tracks all fall into the category of filler material, as no DJ album can avoid them. "Everybody Wanna Shine" featuring Black Rob, G-Dep & Craig Mack is nothing but horrendous, thanks to sub par production and lurid lyricism. "The Street Sweeper" featuring The Lox, is your typical Lox effort but the tracks production is not quite up to their normal standards. Noreaga comes through with another senseless song on "I'ma Smack This Motherfucker" as does Wyclef on "Nino Brown" and The Flipmode Squad on "Angles Voice".
While "The Street Sweeper Vol. 1" has its share of filler tracks and mistakes, the overall product is much better than expected. The album's highlights alone make it worth looking into, overshadowing some of its mistakes. If you are looking for a solid street album that will certainly bump all summer long, look no further than was Kay Slay has to offer here. And while one mixtape album is enough for most DJ's, Kay Slay comes through with enough success for everybody to look forward to volume 2.