Statik Selektah - 100 Proof (The Hangover)
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In making an album with The Hangover as a subtitle, it's worth saying that Statik Selektah has a "wolf-pack" of emcees. 100 Proof sees the New York-based producer/deejay showing off his diverse taste by bringing in talent from his various industry associations. The album includes appearances from everyone from Kool G. Rap and Skyzoo to Fashawn and Souls of Mischief. Equipped with DJ Premier-esque scratches and a convincing dedication to lyricist, 100 Proof is a solid ride that hits every coast leaving a plethora of quotables in its trail.
The first single of Statik's third such compilation album is a successful collaboration between Styles P and Talib Kweli entitled “The Thrill is Gone” . Like their first union (2006's "Testify"), the track finds each emcee bringing their best, meshing beautifully over Statik's best production of the album. The listener can’t help but feel Hip Hop's heartbeat when both Styles and Kweli spit. Statik has the knack to match several artists together, which end up being organic-sounding collaborations. “Get Out” features Skyzoo, Rapper Pooh, Torae and Lee Wilson is one those moments. The lineup seems to suit Statik's production style and each emcee brings forth a dope effort. Skyzoo, who leads the track off, absolutely obliterates the verse, using the small opportunity to set what is surely the album's lyrical best.
The production varies from solid to the cusp of greatness. Statik does understand the importance of hard hitting drums and bass lines that seem to match those drums perfectly. He stumbles at times with the chords and samples that are layered overtop of the drums and bass lines. While tracks like “Critically Acclaimed” show that Statik Selektah is a force to be reckoned with while “Do It 2 Death” is clearly an above average track but the production seems a bit manic. “Follow We” is the hardest production on the album. Statik chooses dark strings to go over a haunting bass line. The beat is tailor-made for Smif-N-Wessun, who do the dope production justice. “Life is Short” sees Consequence spit a gem over a pensive musical backdrop. "So Close, So Far” features Bun B, Wale and Colin Munroe. Each artist is stellar, but unfortunately Statik's choice of saxophone in the track sounds more like Smooth Jazz than Hip Hop. Where many producers would have distorted the saxophone and manipulated its sound, Statik decides to play it safe.
In the lineage of great producers ascending from mixtapes (Dr. Dre, Evil Dee, Marley Marl), Statik Selektah is truly above his '00s contemporaries. One can hear the student in Statik Selektah's work, and know that he's played records with a passion. 100 Proof is consistent with Statik taking the listener on a ride filled with different textures of production and plethora of dope emcees. As seen in All In A Day's Work and Stick To The Script, the producer is still evolving in taking his album-making from very good to excellent. The expectations continue to grow with Statik Selektah and this is a solid addition to a growing catalogue, which should satisfy his fans and followers for the moment.