$19.50/20.00 [?]

Celph Titled & Buckwild
Nineteen Ninety Now

There will be few albums that ever manage to tap into a forgone era as mightily as this new mixture of innately golden era production and hardcore, no holds barred rhyming that is Nineteen Ninety Now. Enlisting the help and sound of a legend in Diggin In The Crates crew member and all-time great Hip-Hop boardsman Buckwild, Demigodz and Army Of The Pharoahs member, Celph Titled issues the rap world a collection of tracks that will jog some serious déjà vu in many a 90’s mind out there.

To undertake a project like this is impressive and shows a good understanding of what Hip-Hop is most vitally in need of nowadays. Clearly, droves of fans (myself included) believe that the culture is moving in a fairly listless direction and is lacking a good deal of bite as well. We needed someone to come along and slap heads in the face 1995 style and Celph & Buck have the right modus operandi just to get that accomplished. This album is a special treat for many reasons, but none more beaming to me then the fact that it sort of serves as a quasi Buckwild solo effort that all of us rabid D.I.T.C. fans never received. We finally got to hear what a full offering of beats from the renowned Bronx beatsmith would sound like. That’s a treasure man, truly it is, but even more ill is that all of the beats on “Nineteen Ninety Now” were created in the 90’s too; so it’s not some cheap imitation stuff here that Buck just whipped up real quick. Nope, these joints were the real thing and so was the experience of getting to hear this prize piece of music.

The thick, snapping boom bap back drops that Buckwild furnished for Celph were in abundance and his careful sampling of only the most proper of records also was spot on. Chemistry was abound between the sprightly Tampa emcee and the NYC production legend…tracks like “Step Correctly” are the perfect meshing of Celph’s boastful, yet witty rhyming and Buck’s traditionalist mastery. It’s just a good lil’ tune and not over or underdone one bit. Celph had many a chance to channel his inner wild man. One of the particularly more intense tracks was “Tingin”; a comically violent jumpoff that also is apart of a few other examples of when Celph, in spots, gives us some baby feedings of his own biography. “I Could Write A Rhyme” also builds more on Celph’s somewhat curious past and delves into his genesis within Hip-Hop, not only as an unbiased fan from Tampa, but also how he met Apathy, the formation of his slickly pulp style of delivery and oh yeah, how he slapped up Cage as well.

Nineteen Ninety Now contains a number of dope collaboration tracks, perhaps none more appealing than “Swashbuckling”. After the Juice [the film] aided intro we get to hear Apathy over a raucous horn fueled cut before the track switches up and Ryu kills a brilliant jazz flavored number. Next switch takes us into a bass licked gem, where beantown emcee Esoteric goes to work in spectacular fashion. The last beat switch (that gets rhymed over) belongs to Celph who bats clean up excellently. Well rounded, perfectly executed and pitch perfect…def. a moment when I had to sit up and say “damn, this shit is knockin”.

I loved “Wack Juice”; the quasi-incoherent meditation that begins with some cat doing an intro discussing how lame skinny jeans are and leads into Celph starting his verse off with the word “muthafucka”. It’s that type of outing here. Celph calls people in the industry on their bullshit and decries the terrible state of Hip-Hop culture today, threatening to bounce on all of it if things continue to digress. Careful newbie rap heads, this track definitely might be more than offensive to you….hipsters need not press play. “Hardcore Data” was another real high point for me. I mean, lawd, that beat is just…magic. Celph does his duty over it no doubt, but this was a moment when Buck just couldn’t be out done even in the slightest.

What can I say about this album? It’s just dope from the moment it commences to the moment it ends. Has tons of replay ability, cool titles and themes (“FuckMaster Sex”, “Hardcore Data”, “Out To Lunch”), a heap of truly skilled and iconic guests taking part (Treach, Vinnie Paz, Chino XL, Grand Puba, FT, R.A. The Rugged Man, O.C., Diamond D, etc.) and man, the production…thee best of 2010…yup, there it is, thee best. Nineteen Ninety Now must be on your radar this year as it is plainly one of the top 3 best albums to drop in the twenty dime and is relentless in the amount of truly golden era vibes it radiates.

There’s something here for all the hardcore guys as well as the folks that dig a lil’ levity from their emcees (AKA all you former Redman, Lord Finesse and Big Pun fans). Your immediate thinking might have you feeling like it moves a lil’ too slow, I assure you that’s an anomaly. In speaking with a few other writers about this album I think that that irregularity is just how a lot of younger heads process these mid 90’s beats that swing a lil’ slower than what the average joints of today do…and that’s a wonderful feeling to have/know again. For the youngins, pay close attention…this is sort of what all of us older heads were tryin to illustrate to you about our generation’s rap when we moaned at the sight of you skimming through Kanye West and Drake MP3’s.

This music, this album that Buck and Celph have authenticated is a blast from the past, but also does do a good job of maintaining many of today’s underground, hardcore principles, and hey, it thumbs it’s nose at the current commercial establishment that has so uniformly taken over every facet of the mainstream game. Who don’t love that? Celph pulls no punches over these jewels and everything from the many outros on tracks to the actual longer track listing, the musical arrangements and even the wording on Nineteen Ninety Now harkens to a better time. Sure, this wasn’t an album that was uber deep from a lyrical standpoint, but it was highly entertaining without being overly pretentious or trendy. Celph dropped a lot of polished, rough and ready verses and they won’t change the world anytime soon, but I guarantee a ton of you that hear em’ will be ceaselessly reciting them soon enough. This is the must have album of 2010.

$19.50 out of $20.00

-Dominick “BIG D O” Ledezma

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