Following up his critically acclaimed mixtape "Poor Man's Paradise", DC's finest DJ A-Beats is back at it again. Along with some help from northern Virginia's DJ Lynch, "Street Hop: The Mixtape Of Champions" is your usual offering from A-Beats, complete with a great mixture of mainstream and underground hits.
DJ Lynch handles the first half of "Street Hop" offering a nice mix of hard hitting street anthems from a wide range of artists such as Beanie Sigel & Cam'ron (Wanted Dead Or Alive), M.O.P. (Here Today Gone Tomorrow) & Grafh (Food). On the underground tip it gets no better than Jean Grae's "Don't Rush Me", which is produced by none other than 9th Wonder. Newcomer K Hill offers one of the albums biggest surprises with some heat on "Da Instigator", as does Akbar with the Soul Supreme produced "Who's Who". There are a couple of throwaway tracks plaguing DJ Lynch's side however. The Jin & Kanye West collaboration of "Too Hood" is proof that Jin struggles to find himself when he sways away from his usual battle format, leaving even the best of Kanye beats feeling dull. Also, the Terror Squad's bland "NY State Of Mind", which also features Cam'ron, could have been replaced with some of the better material TS has released lately, such as "Lean Back" or "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah". And the various freestyles throw in from Main O, Jinx Da Juvy & Cocoa Chanelle won't do anything to catch your attention either.
DJ A-Beat takes charge of the album's second half, which is mixed a little better than Lynch's part and definitely flows smoother. A-Beats continues to impress with his mixing as he flawlessly blends tracks together with ease. M.O.P.'s "I Don't Give A Fuck" & Nas's "Thief's Theme" are the sides best cuts. But not to be overlooked is Masta Ace's "Beautiful", a perfect comeback track for the veteran. Northern Virginia's very own Sketch comes through with an extremely impressive effort as well with "Suicidal Tendencies". Need proof that Sketch can do much more than battle, than look no further than this track.
While not on the same level as DJ A-Beats last effort "Poor Man's Paradise", "Street Hop" is still a successful mixtape that is worth the pickup. The 40 plus tracks could have been narrowed down and may drag in certain areas but thankfully that doesn't overshadow the overall vibe of the mixtape.
In an era where DJ skills on mixtapes are compromised for self promotion and marketing, it's a breath of fresh air to hear real DJ's like Lynch & A-Beats put out efforts like "Street Hop". The album mixes the best of both worlds and in this day and age that's about all we can ask for.