It seems so far, 2006 is the year of bringing it back. It seemed like everyone and their mother haf released an album trying to recreate the sound of work early in their career. Defari, Dilated Peoples, and even The Roots came out with an album this year to fit that bill. The funny thing is that all these artists make appearances on the new Planet Asia LP, "The Medicine."
Listening through the album it is clear to see how much the Fresno born MC has progressed in his career, and how much his style has improved. Asia's trademark raw flow is present throughout the entire recording, and doesn't quit until the last track. The guests on the album are among today's finest, but Asia manages to remind you on every track whose CD you're listening to.
Prodigy from Mobb Deep rips it on the street anthem cut "Stick & Move", while Defari and Planet Asia slow it down very effectively on the track "Old Timer Thoughts." The title track is impossible not to enjoy, you know the song is a classic as soon as the stripped down loop starts.
"Dilated Agents" features three of the best MCs from the left coast; Rasco, Rakaa, and Evidence (Dilated Peoples). The tracks brings back memories of early Dilated works, and bangs like the rest of the album.
However, like most, this album has it's weak points. "In love," while catchy, lacks much substance, the CD's only major flaw. It's not the track is bad in concept, it just doesn't fit Asia's style, and sounds like not enough thought was put into the arrangement.
This album not only shows PA's range as an MC, it is one of his best works to date. It has all of the elements of a quality album; great guests, great beats, and lyrical substance.