Statik Selektah

Extended Play

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Following work with Strong Arm Steady, for his second full-length with N.Y.C. label Duck Down, DJ/producer extraordinaire Statik Selektah taps into the golden age boom-bap beats of Pete Rock and DJ Premier and recruits a huge cast of classic-era and modern rappers to back up his endeavor. With nearly 40 high-profile guests -- including Action Bronson, Posdnous of De La Soul, Prodigy of Mobb Deep, Talib Kweli, Freddie Gibbs, Black Thought, Blu, and Noreaga -- the album packs in as much talent as a volume of Lyricist Lounge, and Statik Selektah does a good job of reining it all in and showcasing the various rhyme styles with his beats. Standout single "Bird Eye's View" bounces between new- and old-school artists with Joey Bada$$ and Raekwon trading verses, before Black Thought delivers one of his all-time best 16 bars, and "21 & Over" maintains the same balancing act, with young Mac Miller keeping up with the hardcore rhymes of veteran MC Sean Price. Elsewhere, "The Spark" musically mirrors Kanye's soul-jazz production work with Common and "Make Believe" features a Fender Rhodes keyboard line and snappy breakbeat that would make Ali Shaheed Muhammad blush. Turntable scratching and a glaring lack of digital manipulation make this feel more like a throwback, but despite the fact that this is the fifth album completed in six years, Statik Selektah's Extended Play doesn't seem sloppily thrown together. Instead, it's a dense, imaginative outing that pays tribute to classic East Coast hip-hop lovingly.

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