Even though new DJ's emerge everyday, New York's very own Tony Touch is still one of the world's most legendary figures behind the turntables. His distinct "Nuyorican" sound has been a stronghold throughout his career. And while other DJ's were quick to jump onto one familiar sound, Tony has always stood apart from the crowd. His legendary "50 Emcees" mixtape trilogy is still one of the finest mixtapes ever assembled, as they featured guest appearances from almost every legendary emcee in the industry. In 2000, Tony finally made his major label debut with the first installment in his "Piece Maker" series, which feature remarkable guest appearances from Cormega, Eminem, Gangstarr, Wu Tang & Big Pun. To this day the album still remains one of the finest compilations in recent memory, and an underground classic for many. Now after four long years Tony Touch is finally ready to drop the second installment in his "Piece Maker" series. Like his previous attempt, Tony mixes his distinct Latino and Hip Hop sound with various guest appearances from all over the Hip Hop globe.
With "The Piece Maker II", Tony is able to recapture some of the greatness witness on the first album with amazing guest appearances from Slick Rick, Large Professor, Pete Rock, Masta Ace, Nature, Dead Prez & the Wu Tang Clan. The ruler himself, Slick Rick, makes an outstanding appearance with his storytelling antics on "Trouble On The Westside Highway". Rick never ceases to amaze, as his vivid depiction of gun toting hooligans on NYC's infamous Westside Highway is just more proof of why he is Hip Hop's greatest storyteller of all time. The legendary combination of Pete Rock, Large Professor & Masta Ace offer an equally astounding performance with "Out Da Box". With a vintage Pete Rock beat, the trio, along with Tony Touch, offer a throwback to the good old days of Hip Hop. Masta Ace's braggadocios verse is especially impressive, as he is able stand out among the star studded crowd.
Just like the original "Piece Maker", volume II also features a standout performance from the Wu Tang Clan. "Rock Steady" featuring Raekwon, Method Man, U-God and Rza behind the boards, is one of the finest Wu tracks to be release in recent memory. Rza's wondrous production effort adds that vintage Wu vibe to the track, which is something Rza's beats have lacked for the past couple of years. And while Rae, Meth and U-God all offer average verses by their standards, it is still great to hear the trio put forth an effort that mirrors their glory days. Another great collaboration comes from the previously released "Capicu" which features Fat Joe, Nore & JuJu of the Beatnuts. The hyped track is filled with a constant barrage of energy, making it the most entertaining effort on the album. Other efforts on the album remain equally enjoyable, such as Nature's short but sweet verse on "A Beautiful Day", The Diaz Brothers "Click Bang" and "Touch 1 Touch All" by Dead Prez.
But unlike the first "Piece Maker", this edition fails to capture such standout efforts for its entirety. While "The Piece Maker II" features some tremendous efforts, it also features a good amount of letdowns and filler material. The most notable of these is the Def Squads predictable "How You Want It", as Erick Sermon's cookie cutter production is becoming all too repetitive these days. The Bad Boy family also offers a boring effort with "Non Stop" featuring P.Diddy, Black Rob & G-Dep. Besides the fact that the trio lifted an old Stetsasonic hook for the song, the song's production is all too simplistic. Other efforts that fail to impress are Q Unique's "Spit 1", "Dimelo", "Como Suena" featuring Don Chezina and the unnecessary remake of "Just Be Good To Me" featuring Soni.
While "The Piece Maker II" may not live up to its predecessor, it still manages to provide some outstanding efforts that no Hip Hop fan should miss. It is just good to see the album finally get released after the tremendous delays it went through . And while it's a shame that tracks such as the Lox's "Fuego" were left off the album due to sample clearances, "The Piece Maker II" still remains a solid album with its shining moments. Hopefully we won' t have to wait another four years for the next installment.