Here we go again. Another underground, independent, no-name, “almighty” compilation sent to save the world of hip-hop with its “realness.” If I get one more of these stinking, no good, low-life, &%*^$…wait.
Nowadays, it seems that everyone is shooting to put together that perfect compilation – the one that sends hip-hop screaming of its late ‘80s, early ‘90s “golden age.” Quite often, they come across as lifeless, half-hearted attempts at making “real” hip-hop music with one or two good tracks sprinkled amongst a muck of unheard-ofs trying to get their name out there.
Refreshingly (and somewhat surprisingly) North Carolina-based Neblina Records tries none of these tactics with “Definition. The Hip-Hop Compilation,” an album littered with tracks just waiting to get some play in the headphones of those that like their hip-hop pure and free of the latest crunk invasion or R&B-induced choruses.
While the most that many hip-hop fans will know of North Carolina hip-hop emerged in the form of Little Brother and 9th Wonder last year, Neblina proves that N.C. may very well be the N.Y. of the South – a home away from home of sorts for hip-hop music to flourish and successfully endure the hardships of hip-hop occurring in other parts of the country.
The lead single, K-Hill’s “Da Instigator,” features the production talents of another “wonder” (Nick tha 1da), who laces K-Hill with a Premier-esque beat to hip-hop out to. “Who’s tired of n----s talking about how many bullets they took? Or they used to peddle crack, or they used to be crooks?,” K-Hill spits ferociously. Anyone with their hands up now should invest in the real “Definition.” of hip-hop.
K-Hill returns the favor later when he laces his own production effort for L.E.G.A.C.Y.’s (of Little Brother’s Justus League) “Steel Dragon,” a rock-tinged symphony, which the Justus League member rightfully gets oh-so-braggadocio all over. (“’Best of…’ CD before the album even came out!”)
Of course an N.C. compilation would not be complete without Mr. 9th Wonder himself, who graciously offers up “Fakes One” to Splash, who, in return, runs down a list of the difference between real brothers and fake brothers in the game, spitting, “The real brothers want to help you get a house, The fake undercovers want to stop Danger Mouse.” Nothing fake about this right here.
And once Chapter 13 explains the “Demonz” of life (watch those girls, fellas!) or comes correct with the breath-of-fresh-air on “Watchin My Moves” (watch out for the unbelievable sample/scratch maneuvers), it is quite clear that the South is about more than waving white T-shirts in the air or sipping crunk juice out of gold-plated pimp cups.
Even the curious cultural inclusion of an entire Italian rap (“Pui Fuoco” by Giuone Shadal) is not enough to hold back the train headed directly from North Carolina into the speaker stations of New York City (and it sure beats some of the Italian-influenced, mobbed-out skits included on many of the N.Y. albums nowadays anyway).
So, be aware for it - another one of those “here to save hip-hop” pleas from an upstart, brand-new, and somewhat naïve hip-hop label just trying to land somewhere on the map and make a splash. Only this time, they literally use a “Splash,” climb up a “Hill,” and get some well-deserved “Justus” in the process. Here we go again – only this time, “Definition.” brings it all back to hip-hop.