When’s the last time you’ve heard a good compilation that wasn’t a mix tape? Well, if you’re looking for it from the label that brings you the Hieroglyphics, then you won’t find it. Basic lyrics and bland production are the downfall of Hiero Imperium Presents The Building. One would think that by having only 12 tracks on the album, as well as seasoned veterans behind the project, maybe, just maybe, this compilation would have some legs. The problem, however, is the veterans.
None of these cats from the Hieroglyphics wanted to drop a good song, and it shows. The most notable member of the group, Del, shows up for the solo track “Funk Em”, but the lyrics sound like something from a first grade nursery rhyme and the production is tacky. Plus, this is the only appearance from Del on the album, as he doesn’t even show up for the group tracks. Casual comes with his hometown ode “Oaktown”, and while the adlibs in the hook are catchy, the heavy bass drowns everything out. Which is good, because if you knew what he was saying, you would desperately look for the next track button on your CD player.
With all the downfalls from the compilation, there are some surprising upsides to this disc. The group’s joint “Make Your Move” is a nice opening to the album as the 9th Wonder remix was done beautifully. Hiero rides the beat effortlessly, and it seems as if you are listening to Little Brother with a twist. Encore and Ladybug Mecca do a little back-and-forth in “Real Talk”, and Encore really shines with his witty banter to his girl, with whom he is having an argument with. These aren’t the only highlights to the disc: Some up-and-coming artists do a good job outshining the vets, like One Black Radius on “Look Out Below” and Opio on “Mind, Body, and Soul”.
After listening to The Building, I think compilations should stop being label releases, instead leaving them to mix tapes and the usually disappointing movie soundtracks. Hiero’s effort had my attention in the beginning, but then it lost me, and it was really difficult to get me back in the mood to listen to it again. This was a failed effort to get the West Coast’s respect back to their music scene.