The year was 1996 when the legendary group A Tribe Called Quest dropped their fourth album "Beats, Rhymes And Life", and the initial reaction towards the album was not pleasant. With three classic albums in a row many expected the same out of ATCQ, however "Beats, Rhymes And Life" didn't offer such an experience. Many reasons were conjured up for the album's disappointment; one of them unfairly was the addition of newcomer Consequence. The Queens native was thrusted into the limelight, shining on tracks such as "Phony Rappers", "Stressed Out" & "Motivators". However, many critics and fans alike rejected the notion of another emcee joining the mix and believed that precise chemistry between Tip & Phife was somehow broken. It was only years later that fans started embracing Consequence and "Beats, Rhymes And Life", noticing both Con's and the albums beauty. Since then not much as been heard from Consequence, as the once promising emcee fled into the night never to be hear of again. Besides a few unreleased gems here and there, fans have been eagerly awaiting to hear new material from Consequence. After a huge hiatus, Consequence is back with a brand new mixtape to get his name back on the streets.
"The Cons Vol. 1" is your typical street mixtape these days, pitting Consequence shining through various freestyles and newly recorded material. While Consequence does an average job at satisfying his listeners with his run of the mill freestyles over such popular joints as Memphis Bleek's "Roc Mafia", "Jay-z's "Politics As Usual", Slum Village's "Tainted" and Jaz-o's "It's Ova" among others; its his newly recorded studio material that stands out.
After years of putting out nothing, you can tell Consequence is hungry to get back into the game. His new studio material sees big leaps and bounds in his lyrical skills, flow and song making ability. "ASFR" featuring Sha The Weight Man is your usual NYC effort mixing Consequences newly mastered flow (which has improved a lot), and a bevy of punch lines and metaphors. While Consequence was your typical emcee back in the Tribe days, his new style takes advantage of the popular mixtape style utilized today. He uses a variety of catchy and humorous punch lines along with his sick flow to amaze the listener. But while most mixtape rappers these days are good for nothing more than a hot verse here and there, Consequence has the unique ability to actually make good songs. It's a shame that fans gravitate towards horrible mixtape emcees like Joe Buddens, Paul Cain & Jae Mills, when Consequences mixes all of their characteristics along with good song making ability and solid substance on the mic.
Proof of this comes from tracks like "1988" featuring 88 Keys, "The Good, Bad, & Ugly" featuring Kanye West, and "Yard 2 Yard" featuring Rhyme Fest & Mark Ronson. The 88 Keys produced "1988"capitalizes on the Jay-z formula of "22 Two's". Con pulls it off nicely while not making the track too forced at the same time. 88 Keys continues to be one of the most underrated producers in the game, as his work for J-Live among others has been memorable the past couple of years.
One of the industries finest production minds Kanye West shows up for a couple tracks on "The Cons Vol. 1". It seems as if him and Consequence have a good relationship as Kanye adds his production credits to "The Good, Bad & Ugly" while starring on a couple freestyles along with Consequence. Kanye's production on "The Good, Bad & Ugly" is molded of his usual formula, soulful loops that capture a surreal feeling. Kanye has an uncanny ability to take his production to a level where it overshadows all aspects of the track, as usually its his soulful samples that tend to make all of his tracks masterful. Let's hope Kanye and Consequence continue to hook up for Con's full-length album.
Consequence displays some good variety in his newer material on the album but can still give it to you the Q.B. way. "Streets Don't Love You" & "Die In My Arms Tonight" are good hard-core efforts for Con that the streets will definitely feel. At times Con does go overboard falling into a predictable pattern of song making as seen on "Lee Harvey Oswald", which fails mostly due to lackluster production. "Drama" is your typical generic sounding stories of beef in the hood that has been done too many times. The production doesn't quite fit the Consequence mold, as the guitar riffs thrown in are unnecessary.
It's good to see Consequence back in the game after all these years. "The Cons Vol. 1" is your typical mixtape cluttered with too many freestyles and pointless skits, but the new material is enough reason to check it out. Hopefully mixtapes like this will help Consequence get his foot back in the door and build up some hype for his album in the future.