Dame Grease

Live on Lenox Ave.

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Dame Grease is most renowned for his behind-the-scene work with DMX, Nas, the LOX, and Cam'Ron. He is also one of the main participants responsible for devising the highly coveted syncopated template that currently defines mainstream hip-hop. Dame's sample-free, keyboard-friendly creations offer the main source of competition to fellow syncopated lords Swizz Beatz and Mannie Fresh, and his emergence has prevented Swizz and Mannie from exclusively monopolizing this arena.

With Live on Lenox Ave., Dame proves to be a full-service beat technician, as he effortlessly tailors his computerized tracks to fit any genre; from the dirty south bounce of "Vacant Lot Gone No Limit" featuring Silkk The Shocker to the R&B hue of "Harlem Niggas" featuring Mase's Harlem World cronies Loon and Huddy. While Dame's sound is ofttimes indistinguishable from that of Swizz's, he does exhibit a soulful side, implementing melodious guitar riffs too Noreaga's "La Da Di La La La."

Yet, times are hard on the Ave., as Dame's freshman class of rhyme associates (H.O.T. Ones, Mad.Is.On, Bigga Threat, etc.) are underwhelming throughout, and this nondescript cast of MCs could use more time developing their own identities. In truth, Live on Lenox Ave. is so stricken with insufficient lyricism that it turns ordinary tracks from Noreaga, the catchy "La Da Di La La La," and Nas' "Wanna Play Rough" (a track resurrected from the Nastradamus sessions) into the LP's main highlights.

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