Asian America's premier Hip-Hop trio the Mountain Brothers have contributed a lot to spreading of Hip-Hop culture in the United States. Producer extraordinary Chops, Peril-L & Styles Infinite were the first Asian American Hip Hop group ever to sign with a major label, breaking cultural barriers and misconceptions at the same time. While they still to this day do not get the credit they deserve for their contributions, the Mountain Brothers accomplishments speak for themselves. Their independently released debut album "Self: Volume 1" was critically acclaimed drawing attention from all over the Hip-Hop community. Since then the Mountain Brothers have stayed hard at work, signing to newly incorporated Babygrande Records and seeking out new management to help them get to the next level. The Mountain Brothers look to reach such a level with their sophomore release "Triple Crown".
While the years have passed the Mountain Brothers distinct sound has stayed the same. Producer Chops continues to be the groups strong hold, putting forth phenomenal production efforts on every occasion. On the lyrical side Peril-L & Styles Infinite continue to be solid, but lack any spectacular lyrical skills, which keeps them in the backdrop of the production by Chops. This formula continues to be played out throughout "Triple Crown" as the production side continues to outshine all others.
Peril-L & Styles are solid lyricist but won't offer anything beyond the ordinary. At times their lyricism can be boring while at the same time conceptually no new ground will be broke. You get your average attempts of verbal bragging on "Can't Miss", "Hostile Takeover" and "Thanatopsis ii". Lyrically these tracks continue to be hit or miss with lyricism like "that's why I get offers from chicks with big bazonkas, break em off on the mic, I'm nice like Mr. Rogers" from Styles Infinite. While these tracks are solid attempts, they won't catch your attention for more than a couple listens. While the MB's bring it to you with straight raw Hip Hop, they need to offer a little more variety in the future in order to not keep their music sound stale and redundant which is the case with some of the material on "Triple Crown". Much of the album sounds repetitive and in the same mold, never breaking from it even for a second.
However, if one can get past some of the albums initial disappointment's "Triple Crown" does offer some memorable experiences. The lead single "Microphone Phenomenal" is a vintage Mountain Brothers classic featuring a nice balance between the lyrical and production side. DJ Jay-Ski cuts up the Rakim sample for the hook over a nice mid/fast tempo beat by Chops. Slowing it down on "I'm Talking Bout You", Chops displays more production heat while DJ Roli Rho cuts up the Prodigy sample "take these words home and think it through". Which adds emphasis for the tracks message presented by Styles, who delivers a strong message for all Hip Hop heads out there "If you don't elevate Hip Hop and ain't saying nuttin new, guess what I'm talking about you. If you take this personal and you getting irate, guess what I'm talking about you. If you decent off the top but cant write a fucking rhymes, guess what I'm talking about you".
Two of the more original and memorable efforts on "Triple Crown" are seen on "Peril-I Universe" and "Birds Of Paradise". "Peril-I Universe" features a nice funky production effort by Chops while "Birds Of Paradise" features an ingenious sample fitting the love enthused track of woman and relationships. "Birds Of Paradise" is the effort we wish the MB's had portrayed more of, the personal/insightful side. The track is a nice change of pace from the constant pattern the Mountain Brothers follow for the most part.
While the Mountain Brothers won't win the "Triple Crown" for Hip Hop, they do present a solid album full of pure Hip Hop at its finest. At times it is repetitive and predictable but for Mountain Brothers fans the album will be long worth the wait. The albums 21 tracks do end up as overbearing and drawn out at times, as the album would have been better off if they chose the best 14 tracks and leave off the unnecessary filler and pointless interludes. Nevertheless, Chops great production is reason enough to give "Triple Crown" a listen. The Mountain Brothers are just on the brink of breaking through to bigger things and the future is looking bright for Chops, Peril & Styles.