Bumpy Knuckles / DJ Premier

Kolexxxion

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With an underground veteran on the mike (Bumpy Knuckles aka Freddie Foxxx) and beloved producer behind the boards (DJ Premier), The KoleXXXion is worth checking for the "true hip-hop" faithful, but it's manifesto over music at points, lecturing to all those who have strayed off the straight and narrow. Back to the old boom bap is what this conceptual effort demands, and not just from the elite, but from the masses. "Shake the Room" looks to bring hip-hop "back to the stadium" as if Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne weren't all doing that very thing in 2012. Still, the track is massive, and when Flavor Flav -- from the once stadium-sized Public Enemy -- shouts "this sh*t is hot!," he's spot-on and could very well be shouting about well over half the album. Premier's infectious mix of scratchy grime and sampled funk is both familiar and as welcome as ever, while Bumpy drops provocative rhymes that are gruff and thoughtful, up to and including the proposal that the powers that be, in hip-hop, tend to be much more Caucasian than the artists. He's equally smart and volatile with his rhymes, as if he somehow spent time in both G-Unit and Boogie Down Productions, but this admirable and insider throwback won't turn back time and could learn a bit from the Bill Cosby conundrum. When it comes to the kids, cool, talented, and filled with wisdom always get trumped when you arrive both overbearing and unforgiving.

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