DJ Z-Trip - Shifting Gears    
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by Plus One   
The thing about a DJ album is it requires several elements for proper "DJ album" classification. Firstly, we need some validity that the man behind the beats and manning the boards is, in actual fact, a DJ. We need some proof that he can blend, scratch and keep us entertained throughout these indulgences. Thankfully, we have that here in abundance. Throughout the first portion of the album, upbeat cutting and continual references to the vinyl artform enjoyably push us along.

The DJ'ing element takes a backseat through the middle portion of "Shifting Gears," allowing the songs to come to the forefront. Murs & Supernatural present the hilarious "Breakfast Club," with a bee-bopped beat and simple drum line, Murs remarks about childhood experiences watching cartoons on a saturday morning while devouring a heaped bowl of cereal while Supernat covers the amusing hook, "Oooh I love eating cereal while I'm watching my cartoons..." There's also "Everything Changes" by Aceyalone; a beautiful and whimsical track about remembering a lost love. It could have come off as tacky, but Mystic's simple ad-libs and hook serve their purpose aiding Aceyalone's presence and Z-Trip's beat brilliantly.

The album is quite diverse; it includes a variety of DJ related elements and exhibits Z-Trip's producing talent. "Walking Dead" (featuring Linkin' Park's Chester Bennington) is a sinister feeling track that contains an updated dramatic 80's rock feel with a simple portion of scratching to form its hook.

Most surprisingly, the worst elements of the album come in the form of Chuck D's "Shock and Awe" and Supernatural "For My People." The rock/rap fusion for "Shock and Awe" doesn't work. Chuck D performs well, but doesn't excel over the chosen beat. "For My People" has a mild old school feel which becomes more modernized for its hook. The problem is Supernat fails to grasp the attention of the listener with his simple rhyme-scheme and content.

The album concludes with some nice sets and a cool accapella live performance by Grandmaster Cash. DJ Z-Trip's "Shifting Gears" is one of the nicest surprises I've had the privelege of hearing this year, there are some great gems so make sure to pick up a copy.

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