The birth of Hip-Hop didn't start with the emcee as many would come to expect, it all started with the DJ. Back in the 70's a then unknown Jamaican immigrant from the Bronx changed the face of music forever. His name was DJ Kool Herc and he single handily started this revolution called Hip-Hop thus granting the title as the father of our culture. And while Kool Herc among others may have started the DJ revolution, there were still many who picked up where they left off and took it to even greater levels. The X-Ecutioners are one of these few, elite groups of DJ's who have literally changed the face of DJing forever.
As one of the most dominant and skillful DJ groups ever assembled, the X-Ecutioners have brought the culture to a new level. Consisting of Rob Swift, Total Eclipse, Roc Raida and Mista Sinsta, each DJ brings their own unique style and flare to the group. But still, even after years of tearing up shows and battles, the average Hip-Hop listener is still not familiar with the X-Ecutioners sound. However, that is all about to change with their first release entitled "Built From Scratch".
After years of tearing up the underground scene the X-men are now ready to take it to the next level, which is never more evident than on "Built From Scratch". Not strictly a DJ album, "Built From Scratch" features a little bit of everything in order to satisfy all types of listeners.
For the underground heads you have the legendary Large Professor come through on "XL." Holding down both the emcee and producer position, Large Pro hits us off with another classic joint and shows why he is one of the most underrated figures in Hip Hop history. "Let It Bang" featuring M.O.P. is just that, a banging rock enthused track full of what else but raw energy and intensity from BK's finest underground reps. "The X (Y'all Know the Name)" is a solid group effort from Pharoahe Monch, Xzibit, Inspectah Deck and Skillz. Each emcee blazes the mic, but its of course Monch and Deck who put forth the best performances. And the late great Big Pun & Kool G. Rap tear up the mic on the overlooked gem "Dramacyde" G Rap does his usual thug barrage while Pun puts forth not this finest material but sold nonetheless.
For those looking for a more commercial appeal, the X-Ecutioners gather a rather unique assortment of flava from all over. While variety in artists is definitely a welcomed change, the outcome doesn't always warrant just a welcomed experience. "B-Boy Punk Rock 2001" featuring Everlast is a boring and stale attempt thanks to the rapper/singer Whitey Ford, who was never known for his lyrical ability. "Genius of Love 2002" featuring the Tom Tom Club & Biz Markie is an old school throw back, unfortunately it could have been done without and definitely feels out of place. Even though it is always good to heard from the legendary Biz Markie. And the irritating Fat Man Scoop plays his usual part on "Play That Beat", which is a less than stellar attempt for a club banger. However, there is one hidden gem within "Built From Scratch", and it comes from the most unexpected of places. "Its Goin Down" features Mike Shinoda and Mr. Hahn of Likin Park, which is surprisingly one of the finest moments on the album. The lead emcee from LP actually rips the mic and shows he is more than just another fad emcee from a wannabe rock/rap group. He carries a solid flow along with some great charisma and powerful wordplay.
But what makes "Built From Scratch" spectacular is of course the DJ influenced tracks. The X-Ecutioners brilliantly showcase their remarkable talent on tracks such as "X-Ecutioners Scratch", "A Journey Into Sound", "3 Boroughs", "and "Feel The Bass". Each track is filled with an assortment of flavor ranging from the X-Ecutioners infamous Beat Juggles to their precise and razor sharp scratches. The X-men also get some help from some of today's brightest DJ's and producers. "X-Ecutioners Theme Song" featuring Dan The Automater, and "X-Ecution of a Bum Rush" featuring the Beat Junkies are more spectacular showcases of turntablism at its finest. DJ Premier even drops by for a track of his own "Premier's X-Ecution" which is of course nothing short of mind-blowing.
Witnessing "Built From Scratch" is a dream come true for any DJ. For the X-Ecutioners to break through and be able to showcase their talent as well as the Hip-Hop culture on such a higher level is an accomplishment in its own right. While the world is filled with thousands of DJ's and turtablists, however not many get to perform on such a platform as the X-Ecutioners have set for themselves and most likely others to come. "Built From Scratch" is a rock solid album full of diversity and culture. Even though its filled with some flaws such as the numerous tracks dedicated to commercial success and the truly horrendous skits, the album still remains consistent and entertaining until the very end. Every Hip-Hop fan should go out and support the X-ecutioners and show their love for the finest DJ's in the world.