Lootpack

The Lost Tapes

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Although the release date was in 2004, the tracks on The Lost Tapes were actually recorded between 1994 and 1996, when Lootpack was still three friends in Oxnard, CA, trying to make it big. Fortunately for them -- and their fans -- the father of Lootpack member Madlib, Otis Jackson, Sr., had his own studio, Crate Diggas Palace, where these songs were recorded and where they stayed until the album was compiled and released. What is heard on The Lost Tapes sounds remarkably similar to Lootpack's 1999 release Soundpieces: Da Antidote!, and it's easy to see why the group attracted attention from Stones Throw. Madlib's beats are pretty straightforward (jazzy undertones, emphasis on bass, minimal production), but they're good, and they fit Wildchild's clean delivery. The album also boasts, in true hip-hop fashion, a wide selection of guest artists, including Medaphoar, Kan Kick, Oh No (Madlib's little brother), and God's Gift. For the most part, the songs' lyrics focus on the quality and authenticity of Lootpack and their rhymes, a usually overused and ineffectual technique, especially when the MC's skills don't live up to the all the hype they're getting. But Lootpack, despite their relative inexperience, succeed in making the listener believe that they really are that good, and that they really will be able to "get rid of all those deliveries that suck like black holes." And they aren't afraid to explore other aspects of rap. "I Come Real with This" explains why "life in the streets" can inspire rhyming, and not killing, and in "Attack of the Tupperware Puppets" they argue that hip-hop is often misunderstood, and criticize the media for blaming "violence on black lyricists," and forgetting "about the skinheads and white supremacists." They then go on to condemn the existence of black-on-black crime within the community in "Why Do We Go Out Like That?" Add the requisite tracks about women ("Situation," "Miss Deja Vu," "Female Request Line") and you've got yourself a pretty complete hip-hop record by a bunch of young, talented Californian musicians who were just waiting to become the underground stars they soon would be.

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