With his debut, Reclaiming the Dead, the Roots' unofficial member, Dice Raw, makes it clear that his mission centers predominantly on reinstating the old-school aesthetics Y2K hip-hop fans have become so disenfranchised from; Dice reiterates this predication by enlisting forgotten Philly pioneer EST from Three Times Dope to drop a few choice words on his "Intro." Yet, EST is not preaching to the choir. Reason being, Dice is neither assertive nor convincing in the pursuit of this ideology, as Reclaiming the Dead is swayed by a myriad of outdated concepts and contradictory sentiments. Though Dice flashes the lyrical prowess he exhibited on early Roots bangers with "Lava" and the spacy "Kamal Beat," where he boasts, "If Jesus could rap/He couldn't f*ck with me." Even Dice's repertoire of braggadocios cannot make amends for a host of blatant crossover attempts, such as "Raw Sex" and "If I Only Had Words," which interpolates Cleveland's "Last Night a DJ Saved My Life" for the zillionth time. If Reclaiming the Dead proves anything, it proves that Dice is most comfortable in his original surroundings. Malik B and Black Thought's inclusion on "Lockdown" and "Thin Line (Between Raw and Jiggy) provides the necessary checks and balance that force Dice to spit at a higher level of efficiency.
AllMusic Review by Matt Conaway
feat: Black Thought