In the early 90's The Artifacts were one of those unique groups that represents the true essence of Hip-Hop. Their critically acclaimed debut album "Between A Rock & A Hard Place" featured such timeless joints as "C'mon Wit Da Git Down" and "Wrong Side Of Da Tracks" among others. After the duo's overlooked and under appreciated sophomore album "That's Them", El Da Sensei & Tame One decided to go their own ways and dismantle The Artifacts forever. Since then fans have eagerly waited for El & Tame to release their solo albums to the Hip-Hop world. 2002's "Relax, Relate & Release" was El's long awaited debut on Seven Head's Records, but unfortunately the album didn't live up to expectations. Now in 2003 Tame One looks to put forth what his old counterpart could not, a solid album front to back with his Eastern Conference debut "When Rappers Attack".
Straight from the gate you can tell the album's title is fitting enough, as Tame viciously dices up lyrical gems throughout the album's entirety with his ferocious battle influenced rhymes. Tame definitely sets out to attack not only his critics but the industry as well, as a good portion of the album is filled with Tame's disgust for the game. "Iz It Me" is the most notable of these attempts as Tame points out the Hip Hop game is quick to follow the hot trend of the moment instead of being original and creative with their music. "Is it me or is every other rapper sound similar, like they down together, or lay down together...I'm starting to hate it. The latest rapper came out and ya'll imitated, what the fuck are is all ya'll niggas related".
Most of "When Rappers Attack" follows a similar pattern with a plethora of battle lines and bragging rights from Tame on the mic. The title track "When Rappers Attack" & "Act Right" are both E.C. bangers produced by the underrated Camu Tao, that personify that distinct Tame One sound perfectly. As with any Eastern Conference album you can expect top-notch production and "When Rappers Attack" is no different. RJD2 continues to amaze with his production effort on "Up To No Good", but it's J-Zone who ends up having the best chemistry with Tame on the album. As with any J-Zone produced track, you can expect a vast amount of variety and originality. "Heat" & "Slick Talkin" are your typical Zone sounds, funky, fresh and addicting. While "Tame As It Ever Was" is a more rugged, hard core effort from Zone that fits perfectly with Tame One's style. Lyrically Tame continues to be solid but often repetitive and boring, which leads to the albums main downfall.
Most of "When Rappers Attack" is consumed with the same battle influenced sounds, rarely breaking from its mold. Tracks such as "Dreamz", "Concerto", "Moment I Feared" & "Leak Smoke" are all your typical efforts that wont win you over with originality or anything astonishing at that. The sounds of "Leak Smoke" personify "When Rappers Attack" to a tee. While the production is solid, it is an effort we are all too accustomed to hearing, leaving the listener bored after a couple listens. "When Rappers Attack" is a solid effort from the New Jeruz veteran, but ends up disappointing in the end, leaving the listener yearning for more. With hardly any replay value, "When Rappers Attack" will satisfy listeners for a short period of time, only to realize there is not much substance or depth to it. While its great to see old faces reappear again, in order to join the underground elite of 2003 Tame will have to offer a little more than he portrays on "When Rappers Attack" to truly be mentioned with the greats, not to mention his E.C. counterparts.