Rahzel

Make the Music 2000

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Spinbacks, rewinds, incredibly deft scratching, playing the old-school hits for an in-the-know audience -- these are the skills that have put hip-hop DJs from Grandmaster Flash to Q-Bert above their contemporaries. Welcome to the ranks one of the most unique talents hip-hop has ever seen: the human turntable known as Rahzel, the Godfather of Noyze. There've been several great human beatboxes in the world of hip-hop (Doug E. Fresh is the most famous), but Rahzel's techniques at recreating a DJ on the turntables are close to unbelievable. On several tracks (taken from live performances), he even recreates specific hip-hop classics -- LL Cool J's "Rock the Bells" and Wu-Tang Clan's "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nothing to F*** With" -- with surprising accuracy. And for those with the impression Rahzel is a novelty who can't hold up over the course of a full-length, Make the Music 2000 proves that he's a great lyricist and straight-ahead rapper as well. The production is uniformly excellent, including trackmasters Marley Marl (on the spotlight title track), Pete Rock, Scott Storch, and Bob Power, as well as Rahzel himself on a few tracks -- including one of the best, "Bubblin' Bubblin' (Pina Colada)." And the man also vaults a hurdle with the album's guest rappers. While incredibly passé on most rap albums circa 1999, appearing here are excellent names like Q-Tip, Branford Marsalis, Slick Rick, and Erykah Badu. It's not only one of the most fun hip-hop albums of the year, it's one of the best.

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