The hip-hop compilation is a strange beast. Generally thrown behind the banner of a sub-standard "hood" comedy, the first single is half decent and the rest consists of MCs you know being horrible and MCs you don't know showing why you don't know them. Underground compilations have had a bit more quality, but they still don't usually compare to either a full length from an artist or even a "crew" album, the likes of which we've been flooded with recently.
So, 'Inside Out' was a nice surprise. Coming from the underground store www.foolblown.com, a veritable all-star line-up of MCs you probably haven't heard of was assigned to make dope, creative tracks. And most of them decided to do battle rhymes. Luckily, the majority of these MCs are talented enough to make tight tracks, even if they are rapping about pretty much nothing. Strangely, Ellay Khale gives us a surprisingly entertainingly Bone Thugs styled track on 'Arythmikhulesightandsound,' which to be honest was the last thing I was expecting to hear on an Indie LP.
For those wanting more conventional battle tracks, there is a good selection of those on here as well. Producer blueprint gives us 2 excellent tracks, Greenhouse Effect's 'In Sync' and Illogic's 'Verbage.' But seeing as once you've described one dope battle track you're done with most of them, lets get into the more interesting cuts. The always reliable Slug (with a track credited to his group Atmosphere) gives a thought-provoking performance on 'The Abusing of The Rib' and suitably abstract Aesop Rock holds his blinding delivery through all of 'The Tugboat Complex,' probably the record's best cut.
But, 'Inside Out' is a compilation, and as such needs the requisite let down. By far the biggest disappointment for me was 'I Love Art!' a collaboration by Dose One, Why? and Pedestrian. Although I have nothing against these guys (I actually like quite a bit of Dose's stuff) this joint just doesn't do it for me. The worst track on here though is not even contested though, as female MC Vixin drops, well, a female MC track with 'Twice As Hard.' Honestly, I half think that this is a parody of Foxy Brown style tracks, but I don't think I'll give Vixin the benefit of the doubt. Skip this one.
So, in conclusion, Foolblown have thrown together an LP of mostly dope joints, which are worth checking out if you've liked the artists featured on here. A nice compilation.