Boot Camp Clik

The Last Stand

posted July 19, 2006 12:00:00 AM CDT | 27 comments

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For most people the words "Boot Camp" conjure images of new recruits being trained to become soldiers. Don't get it twisted though, because 13 years and 16 collective albums after the release of Black Moon's seminal debut Enta Da Stage, these cats have more than proved that they are ready for combat.

The album gets kicked off with "Here We Come," a smooth little 9th Wonder track juxtaposed with Sean Price, Rock, Buckshot and  Steele's rugged rhymes to remind people what dope is. Anyone disappointed that Rock went A.W.O.L. for The Chosen Few will be delighted to hear him back with his Boot Camp brethren, letting fly on tracks too numerous to mention. One of the more notable of said verses is the venom he spews over the smokey bassline of Soul Jah; "Everything is logical, ain't no emotions here/ Touch you, you dyin' fool, I'm Spock without the pointy ears." This track features every member of BCC and is easily a front runner for posse track of the year. One of the record's multiple highlights and sure to be a favorite to many is the Marco Polo-produced "He Gave His Life," where Steele's passionate tribute to all our soldiers at war peaks with "He gave his life today, that'll make pop crazy, have mama screamin' 'not my baby' / the good die young, that's what they say and in / the hood where I'm from that's an understatement."

On the musical side of things, something noticeable right off the bat is the near complete lack of production by the Beatminerz, who only contribute one track - the merely decent "But the Game is Still the Same." Those who have followed members of BCC's recent exploits should not be surprised that 9th Wonder adds his soulful flavor to the collective's undeniably raw style. This is most notable on "So Focused" where Buckshot displays more of the "chemistry" we've already experienced and Starang Wondah somehow manages to steal the show with a really simple, yet incredibly smooth rhyme that just matches this beat perfectly. The always inimitable Pete Rock provides the backdrop for "1-2-3," and while it's pretty much unwritten law that you MUST get open over a Pete Rock joint, Sean Price takes it to the next level with lines like "Louis Satchmo, pull the tool let the gat blow/ melon pop, taco meat, extra Tobasco / little rascal, buck heat at Buckwheat/ for talkin' dumb, but they all love it when Ruck speak." Also laying a lone track is Large Professor, who you can really never hear too much of. The multi-layered "Worldwide BCC" is without a doubt a testament to this. While the diversity of so many producers is nice at times, there are points when it brings down the album as well, by giving an "all over the place" feel. For the most part, however, the production is on point and the emcees take advantage of this in nearly every instance.

Rarely is an album without some faults, and this album does have a few. Aside from a few weak verses, most of these missteps take places on the production side. A prime example is "Trading Places", a Ken Ring/Rune Rotter co-production that gives the participants a choice of two plodding and unimaginative beats to spit over. Luckily it sounds like the MCs saved their best shit for more deserving moments on the album. If rap where a sport, the highlights would earn this album a Dominique Wilkins-esque nickname without a doubt. On top of this, it's great to hear the whole of BCC back together, although I would have liked to hear more Beatminerz production. This is some desperately-needed real NY Hip Hop.

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