At a time when 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G.'s tragically over-hyped beef threatened to give hip-hop a black eye in the public consciousness, the ever-idealistic Aceyalone was attempting to unite the progressive wing of West Coast hip-hop through Project Blowed. Drawing inspiration from the titular open-mic night and label, Project Blowed maps out a bold new direction for the West Coast underground, bringing together wildly diverse acts whose common bond is a shared love and respect for hip-hop coupled with a desire to expand its musical, thematic, and lyrical horizons. A defiantly low-fi, low-budget compilation that makes even underground projects like Rawkus' Lyricist Lounge and Soundbombing series look like the collected lost singles of Puff Daddy, Project Blowed makes up for what it lacks in slickness with creativity, originality, and a strong sense of purpose. Guided by the progressive vision of A-Teamers Aceyalone and Abstract Rude, Project Blowed runs the gamut of far-left indie hip-hop, from the bizarrely literal pimp rap of Tray Loc's "Once Upon a Freak" to Figure Uv Speech's bluntly feminist and black nationalist "Don't Get It Twisted," a remarkably assured blend of jazz, poetry, spoken word, and hip-hop. Executive producer Aceyalone makes his presence felt throughout, reuniting with Freestyle Fellowship for the jazzy give and take of "Hot" and teaming with fellow A-Teamer Abstract Rude for "Maskaraid Part 1 & 2," a characteristically ambitious and conceptual track abstractly criticizing hip-hop's propensity for posturing and role-playing. Project Blowed's lo-fi aesthetic and willingness to experiment may alienate even fans of like-minded but far slicker underground acts like Mos Def, De La Soul, and Black Star. But for those tuned into Aceyalone and company's bohemian, progressive take on hip-hop, Project Blowed is coffeehouse hip-hop at its finest.
AllMusic Review by Nathan Rabin