Upstart label Halftooth Records, who's roster includes Oddisee, Ken Starr & Wordsworth, may very well be the next big thing in the underground Hip Hop community. Their debut compilation album "You Don’t Know The Half" is a wonderful showcasing of not only the label's talent, but their commitment to releasing real, true to form Hip Hop. With featured guest appearances from J-Live, Little Brother, Kev Brown & Grap Luva, "You Don't Know The Half" is truly a Hip Hop purist's dream. Everything about the album exemplifies vintage Hip Hop and the good old days when the only thing that mattered was the music.
The lead single "If" featuring Kenn Starr, Asheru & Talib Kweli is nothing short of masterful, as the tremendous trio reminisces about the past and what the future holds ahead. Oddisee's soulful production vibe, which remains outstanding throughout the album, adds even more flavor, solidifying "If" as the compilations finest cut. Another magnificent collaboration featured on "You Don’t Know The Half" is Oddisee, Kenn Starr & J-Live's "Quest To Find". If one was to ever reincarnate the sounds of '94 all over again in this day and age, then "Quest To Find" would be the final results. The vintage throwback track is almost too beautiful to describe, as even Q-Tip would be caught blushing at how similar the trio is able to bring back that vintage Tribe sound. J-Live's usual standard of excellence comes into play of course, as his standout verse easily shines the brightest. But thankfully the J-Live experience doesn't end there, as his solo venture "Who Do You Call" is another solid effort from the underappreciated emcee.
While the standout guest appearances and collaborations will attract many to "You Don’t Know The Half", Halftooth Record's own talent pool comes through for some very memorable experiences throughout the album. While Wordsworth's "Here We Go Again" is nothing to write home about, Oddisee & Kenn Starr is able to pick up the slack for Halftooth family. Kenn Starr's "What Up" & "Walk The Walk" , both showcase the native Virginia's versatility and song making ability. While Oddisee's "Yes Y'all" & "Brother" are two more soulful offerings from the Touch of Jazz affiliate.
There are hard to find many faults within "You Don’t Know The Half", as it is one of the better underground compilations to be released in the past year. Some tracks fail to live up to their fellow companions, such as Dash's "Life To Live" & Smash Mechanics "Concrete Steps", but these missteps fail to take anything away from the albums overall consistency. While many will sleep on Halftooth Record's debut release, in a couple of years they will only be kicking themselves for not jumping on the bandwagon before everyone else. With a lineup that is only going to continue to grow, who knows, Halftooth Records just might be that next Indy label ready to take the underground community by storm.