Def Squad

El Niño

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As the first album from a genuine hip-hop supergroup, the Def Squad's El Nino has all the makings of a classic release. After all, Erick Sermon, Redman and Keith Murray have all appeared on each other's albums before, but this is the first time they've had the opportunity to tear it loose for the length of a full album. Unfortunately, El Nino doesn't have the power of a full-force storm and, given the combined talents of the crew, it should. Instead of hitting hard and moving into new territory, the group plays it safe, keeping the productions spare and simple, relying on old school breaks and beats. At times, they pull it all together, as on the propulsive "Can You Dig It," but considering the Def Squad's pedigree, El Nino should have been better.

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