D-Tension - Contacts + Contracts      
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written by Ali    
Since the release of his freshman album ("Mental Illness") in 2001, it appears that D-Tension has come to better understand his role in the world of Hip Hop. Almost completely abandoning any endeavors as a lyricist, D-Tension sticks almost exclusively to producing on "Contacts + Contracts." The album's greatest strength lies in its beats, produced completely by D-Tension, and, features a stimulating line-up of emcees, from both 7L and Esoteric to El Da Sensei to Mr. Lif.

The album's first track features Encore of the Executive Lounge, though he may be better known for his solo work. "It's Time [Ode To Breakin' Atoms]" is quite possibly the best beat featured on the album, with an upbeat feel reminiscent of the Jackson 5. Encore comes off better on this track than on many of his solo projects. The album's next track, "Thin Line" features boston emcees; Checkmark [of skitzofreniks], Esoteric, and Mic Stylz (who was featured on D-Tension's first album). Mic stylz, undoubtedly the freshman performer on the album, provides the nicest verse of the three. With Esoteric and Checkmark both giving a consistent performance. As always, these emcees are provided with a refreshing, complex beat to spit over. Another outstanding track on the album comes from Mr. Lif on "Trouble Shooting." Rocking over an eclectic head-nodder, Lif rides the beat effortlessly.

Also notable were the tracks from Akrobatik ["The Fugitive"], Breez Evahflowin ["Open"], and a reggae-inspired cut by Clokworx ["Rudi"]. Even those [like myself] who don't particularly care for female emcees will be pleased and impressed with Apani B. Fly's effort on "True + Exact."

Most tracks on the album were at least solid, though there were a few that disappointed me solely because they weren't as stellar as some of the others. Thirstin Howl III's track "Orgasms," although combining decent and comical verses with a solid instrumental, leaves listeners with the end question, "Is this a joke?" As does "My Fashion Statement," one of the two tracks on which D-Tension actually rhymes. D-Tension makes up for his definite shortcomings as a lyricist [put bluntly, his voice is strangely annoying and he appears to have little knowledge of cadence or rhyme scheme] by injecting some humor into his verses, as he parodies his sense of style, or lack thereof. Tracks from El Da Sensei ["Hard Times (Hard Rhymes)"] and L-Fudge ["A Night At Hunt's Point"] were surprisingly mediocre, both coming off as being boring and forgettable.

Overall, the combination of D-Tension's obvious talent as a producer makes the album a must-buy. In a time when much attention is devoted to producing, many come off as haphazard and sloppy. D-Tension places himself in the upper echelon with "Contacts + Contracts" with his prowess for heavy sampling [anything from Guru to Mr. Lif to Dre] and his creation of unique sounds coupled with nasty beats is an excellent lineup of emcees who are all in top form from one track to the next. It's only a matter of time until the rest of the hip hop world catches on to D-Tension's prolific nature as a producer and the demands start rolling in.

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