Funkmaster Flex - The Mixtape Vol. 4  
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written by Hugo Lunny    
If you don't know who Flex is then you must have just rolled into Hip Hop along with the Eminem bandwagon (no Em diss, but Hip Hop has seen a lot more "fans" since his surge in popularity). Funkmaster Flex is my generation's most well known DJ. In the UK, the most well known Hip Hop show is Tim Westwood's, most Hip Hop fans in the UK have tuned into that show for years and he's twinned with Flex's Hot '97 shows in NYC. Thus giving me exposure to Flex.

This compilation/mixtape/mix-CD is the fourth in his well-known series. '60 Minutes Of Funk' has seen it's share of exclusives along the way, and supposedly, the last one 'Vol. III' was 'The Final Chapter.' It appears, with the arrival of 'Vol. IV' that this is not the case. The fourth installment doesn't follow the same lines as the others did. There aren't a lot of freestyles, no old school material and there aren't as many tracks in terms of amounts, though the tracks that are here are longer to compensate.

Flex has enlisted some of the most popular artists in the mainstream realms of Hip Hop to create this assortment of joints. Very many of these tracks are exclusives. They may be appearing on the respective artists future releases, but currently, this is the only place where you can cop them legally. Due to his popularity and his audience, Flex has few underground appearances on his releases. However, I was surprised to see, as many others were, the addition of The Bad Seed to this release. Though his track is very short, it's a nice dose of exposure to an up and coming artist who without doubt has skill.

'Vol. IV' kicks off with Dr. Dre directing us into Flexes latest concoction and then we're met with DMX's 'Do You.' A funky track with not too bad lyrics, even some autobiographical comments are laced in amongst his ramblings. This compilation features the traditional "mixtape" DJ role of ad-libbing around tracks. Flex doesn't tend to interfere with the tracks too much, unlike many similar DJ's do leaving us room to check the music.

Included on 'Vol. IV' are a selection of R&B cuts. Depending on whether smooth singing fits into your taste or not, would obviously manipulate your feelings to these. I, personally like the genre and so enjoyed the joints here. Ginuwine comes correct with his full solo joint, as does Faith Evans. And there are also inclusions of snippets from tracks by Jagged Edge and In Essence.

'Vol. IV' features a nice selection of enjoyable features, but the underground elitist's out there will argue with me. Remember, if you're successful it doesn't mean your material is shit and has no value. 'Come Over' by Nelly is one of my favourite joints here, it's what I consider typical Nelly (though bare in mind, I've only heard three of his joints including this). Also included are M.O.P.'s 'Ante Up (Remix)' and D-12's 'My Words Are Weapons.' The D-12 joint is also a nice cut, with an extremely sinister feel to it, the group perform well. Two other choice favourites of mine are 'Fine Line' by Saukrates and 'Wickedest' by Biggie. Both have been previously released, Saukrates' was on his latest release and Biggie's "joint" was a freestyle on a Mister Cee tape back in the day. The inclusion of these was a good idea, as they nicely influence the quality of 'Vol. IV.'

There are bad aspects to the release though. Jadakiss' solo joint disappointed me considerably as I know what he's capable of from previous joints. Drag-On, as consistent as he is, continued in his trend of taking material and ruining it. The beat he was supplied with was too good for him, and, he ruined it. Lil' Kim, CNN all also left me disappointed. There were also some plain out shitty tracks here. 'Feel The Hate' by The Murderers, Da Franchise's joint and Three 6 Mafia & Project Pat's joint all are really below average.

There's also a nice chunk of average-quite good material here. Basically, 'Vol. IV' is a nice compilation, I prefer it to 'Vol. III' but I favour Flex & Big Kap's 'The Tunnel.'

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