Groove Attack has released some incredible underground hip-hop. Phife Dawg, Lone Catalysts, J. Rawls, J-Live, Declaime and more have all found a home where they can be themselves and put out music that is true to their heart. The Superrappin' compilations have always been regarded as amazing snapshots of what is going on in the world of underground hip-hop. It was the first time anyone ever heard Phife on the solo vibe. With all of these incredible releases, Groove Attack put together a compilation filled with b-sides, remixes and outtakes. Most compilations of remixes and b-sides always fall short and usually leave the listener either wanting more of with a feeling that money was wasted. "Flipsides" is a very complete compilation that generally stays strong from the beginning to the end.
There are an abundant amount of strong tracks on this album. The compilation kicks off with the Hi-Tek produced "Miscellaneous (DJ Hi-Tek Luv Boat Remix)" by Phife Dawg. This is a very cool spin on the slept-on single from Phife's debut solo LP. The beat (that has a nice driving quality and vocal samples) is much better than the original and has some guest vocals by Hi-Tek on the hook. "Dynomite" by The Lone Catalysts featuring J-Live is another incredible track. Here, J. Rawls produced a beautiful beat with a nice piano loop and vibes. It truly glides along while J. Sands and J-Live truly rock the mic. Another very dope track is "Spread Love (remix)" by Mike Zoot featuring Labba. Produced by Ayatollah, this track has a magnificent Jamaican vocal sample for the hook. Ayatollah's beat and the performances by the emcees all work well together. J. Rawls and J-Live make another stellar collaboration with "Great Live Caper Pt.2" (produced by Fat Jon). This is an incredible track where J-Live rhymes about how they tried to steal his book of rhymes. He is such a great storyteller and he can become one with the beat. The upbeat rhythm and vocal samples blended in the background just help create the beautiful balance. J-Live rhymes his heart out as he tells us his story: "…Yeah I'm thinking it's about to be on / But in a brand new context / Assuming that the danger is gone / I ate a late, great dinner, then I told her the story / And she told me that tonight, she'd do anything for me…" This is an incredible track. J. Rawls also rocks the mic on his solo cut "They Can't See Me (remix)" J. Rawls (who did an excellent job on 3582 and Lone Catalysts) usually stays on production but he can rhyme like a professional: "…Medic! Medic! A, yo, that's what they yelling! /Their hearts done stopped pumping, son, and ain't no telling / What that kid gone do now, is that him writing texts? / What the?! I didn't know that son was ambidextrous/With the beats and the rhymes / Plus he said it on time /And listen to that groove / It's raw with no refined / With 'Boom-na-na'../ Yeah, that's how we did it / Rolled the loop, and kick in the snare, and then he lit it / Now you're brain's on drugs /Introducing J. Rawls …" The remix is also worthwhile for people who know the original version. J. Rawls also does some amazing production work on "Turn It Forward" featuring Wordsworth. Another incredible track is "Following Goals (remix)" by Mathematik featuring Bahamadia. The beat (produced by Frankenstein) pounds hard with a thick, early 90's feel. Mathematik and Bahamadia rock the mic and glide over the beat with a natural vibe. The energy alone is mind-blowing.
Some tracks are still very well-done but not as wonderful as others. Phife Dawg's "Thought U Waz Nice" (produced by Jay Dee) has an excellent beat and some very cool verses delivered by Phife. "…I learned to freestyle early because I couldn't afford a pencil / Or better yet a dime that I could lend to Mr. Wendall /Alot of emcees talk, say they pushed the tech out / They figured I'd lose my touch, just because I'm down south /But you know good and well that Malik ain't havin' that…" The one and only problem with the track is the hook where he chants "Bow wow wow, yippie yo, yippe yea.." Jay Dee also produces a dope beat for J-88's "The Look Of Love (remix)" which uses the same sample from "The Chase Pt II" by A Tribe Called Quest. Grand Agent makes 2 appearances. First, DJ Paul Nice produces "Grand Right Now (remix)" which has an exuberant energy but a very repetitious chorus. The last song on the LP is Grand Agent & Pete Rock's "This Is What They Meant (remix)" produced by Ge-ology. Sure, the original is better but how can you hate on Pete Rock? "So this is what they meant by funky?" Some tracks are very cool due to the strength of the artist's love for hip-hop. A wonderful jazzy guitar loop glides along on "Phonographic Material" (produced by DJ Crossphader) by I.G. Off, Hazadus, Gauge & Rubix. "Misuse" by Kwest featuring Truth Enola stresses in the chanted hook that "misuse of this art form is not permitted!". All of these tracks possess a high quality of production, lyrics, and performance. Even though they are not as catchy or do not instantly grab the listener, they should be appreciated.
The compilation does have some minor problems. Declaime has 3 tracks that are all somewhat decent but they do get in the way. Sure, he's an interesting emcee but he truly is not on the same level as J-Live, Phife Dawg or some of the others. Also, the production by Madlib is cool too but is nowhere near the same level as Jay Dee or J. Rawls. There are a couple of filler tracks besides the Declaime songs. EDO G.'s "Betterthanbefore" and Bravo & Sandman's "Aged & Laced" are decent too but they do not hit as hard as the other tracks.
While many B-sides/Remixes compilations leave much to be desired, "Flipsides" is truly a dope collection of tracks. Whether this is your introduction to Groove Attack or you have been a fan for a while, "Flipsides" is a good representation of not only their catalogue but of what's going on in underground hip-hop.