With a lineup consisting of Krs-One, OC, Soul Supreme and L Da Headtoucha, Boston based Grit Records is one of the more promising record labels in the underground community. However, their debut compilation album "Grit City Vol. 1" fails to show such promise, as the album is consumed with disappointing production and boring concepts from Grit's b-team emcees.
Artists such as Swann Notty, Detrimental Beatheads, RA Degrees and Cockroach Click are all up and coming emcees/crews who fail to standup to the veterans on "Grit City Vol. 1". The simple piano keys on "9's Revisited" by the Cockroach Click fails blend with the four-man crew's wordy and abstract lyricism. "Take Time Out" is another awkward effort, as RA Degrees offer an 80's throw back track, however, each emcee's double timed flow is badly off beat. Each emcee tries to rhyme as fast as they can without realizing their flow is just as important as their wordplay. Take for example Jay-z, who mastered the technique of utilizing his double timed flow while weaving in and out of the beat perfectly. Unfortunately, the crew makes the same mistake on "Bizzy To The Letter", only this time the results are not as blatant. Even though the RA Degrees crew are dope lyricist, they often try to fit as many words into a single sentence as possible, thus throwing off their flow and making for a frustrating effort. More boring efforts on "Grit City Vol. 1" can be seen on Swann Notty's uninspired storytelling tales on "Beverly Davis" and Detrimental Beatheads "Niggas Don't Know".
While the rookie emcees on "Grit City Vol. 1" make for an inconsistent experience, the veterans thankfully come through and help the cause. Inebriated Rhythm's Vanguard helps OC find his own self on "The Professional", which certainly acts as a throwback to the good old days of OC. Supastition leaves the mic in flames on "Step It Up", which acts as a clinic in how to write clever punch lines and metaphors. Boston's very own Insight also comes through with a cut off his new album "17 Emcees". If you did not know Insight was a dope emcee then you certainly will know now, as Insight turns into 17 emcees, mimicking their voice, style and delivery.
As is the story with most compilation albums, "Grit City Vol. 1" is a highly inconsistent effort that suffers from rookie mistakes. While Grit wanted to showcase their young up and coming talent, the album would have benefited if Krs and the other experienced emcees had more of a presence.