Guesswhyld - Past, Present and Future...  
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written by Hugo Lunny    
For those who don't know, Guesswhyld is a record label that was established in 1996 by that rapper they call Matt Fingaz. The label surfaced in around the same time as Rawkus, Rawshack etc. and with that, brought out some real nice 12" releases. This compilation consists of tracks from the label's past, it's present and of course, it's future, it also features some joints, which we've seen on other labels, which those who assembled the compilation believed would fit in well.

'The Past' is where you find the compilation's gems, lying with the joints featuring those black Star's; Mos Def and Talib Kweli. Those gems are 'High Drama' by Mike Zoot featuring Mos Def, and 'Due Process' by Lone Catalysts featuring Kweli and Rubix (which although it wasn't on Guesswhyld's release roster, placing it here was a very good move).

'High Drama' has Mike Zoot and Mos Def basically talking about "high drama" or over dramatized rhyming and acting in rap. They tell stories mocking emcees who create these unbelievable lies in order to sell records. It's very well performed, with their flows, lyrics and hook all being at a high level. Plus Hi-Tek laced the beat which is always an attractive thing...if you didn't check this in 1998, you have to pick up this CD, shit, if you did buy the 12" back then, you should pick this up on CD - pure dopeness. 'Due Process' dropped late last spring, and I remember loving it the first time I heard it. J. Rawls cooked up a dope beat and Rubix, Kweli and J. Sands make full use of it to a brilliant level.

Another external (not originally put out by Guesswhyld) gem comes in the form of 'Simplistic' by the Network Reps featuring DJ Spinna and Shawn J. Period. The rhymes here are on point and the beat Spinna created combined with the hook help to form a very mellow, relaxing track.

The compilation also features the joint which started off the label; Lace Da Booms' 'Cut That Weak Shit' featuring Kwaze Modoe & Royal Flush. Over slick Buckwild production, the emcees hold down the track, accentuating the vibe created by the beat and the KRS sampled hook.

'The Present' isn't too bad. I'm dubbing the present from early '99 to now (just so you're aware of that). 'The Present' includes such cuts as Tommy Tee's posse cut 'No Holds Barred' featuring Royal Flush, Street Smartz & M.O.P. Tommy Tee assembled a beat which fitted the emcees on here nearly perfectly. Some of the lyrics could have been improved upon, but on the whole the joint's very enjoyable. There's also 'Frontline' by El Da Sensei. A nice cut featuring the likes of Organized Konfusion, Mike Zoot & FT. Just to mention a couple.

Unfortunately, 'The Future' also happens to consist of Guesswhyld's worst joints. I mean they're not pitiful, but they are disappointing. Matt Fingaz' 'Six Cents' begins with an introduction informing us of how broke Matt Fingaz apparently is. The beat is relatively enjoyable, but Fingaz doesn't really impress me with his attempt at making this a comedic track. Then there's the Punch & Words collabo. also featuring Fingaz; 'Cum Now.' The joint takes an alternative twist on Joan Osborne's "What if god was one of us" and turns it into "What if girls weren't scandalous." The track isn't too bad, but it's not as good as it should have been. I've heard much better rhymes by Fingaz, Punch and Words than there are placed on here. 'Big Bklyn' by Labba has a very monotonous beat hiding behind Labba's rhymes which are less than amazing to be polite. His voice, and flow, plus lyrical content could do with some considerable toning.

Basically, this compilation has a fair amount of nice joints and a few really outstanding cuts. It does have its negative points, but the good ones outweigh them. This compilation is worth giving a listen to, and if you do pick it up on CD, you'll find a few bonus cuts exclusive to the CD version of the compilation.

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