Now rolling with Roc-A-Fella y'all, Clue?'s days of slinging tapes on your neighborhood corner are all but over. Recognized worldwide for reinventing the art of the mixtape, Clue? enlisted some of hip-hop's biggest guns for his major-label debut. Aiding Clue? in his quest for the Clueminati, Nas revisits his Illmatic roots with "Queensfinest." The pairing of Cam'Ron, Big Pun, Noreaga, and Canibus on "Fantastic Four" is worth mentioning solely for the hypnotic verse Canibus delivers. Jayhovah touches down, lending his labelmate a hand, combining forces with Ja-Rule for some "Gangsta Shit." Mobb Deep and Big Noyd are at it once again on "The Professional," as they are merciless on a fiery, violin-laced number from Vic. Meanwhile, EPMD and the Def Squad play hot potato on "It's My Thang '99" and Raekwon lends his lyrical swordmanship to "Brown Paper Bag Thoughts." Like any mixtape or soundtrack, you have to accept the good and bad with a grain of salt. Clue? makes feeble attempts to refresh cuts like "That's the Way" featuring Mase, Foxy, and Fabolous Sport and "I Like Control" featuring Missy, Mocha, and Nicole Wray, leaving them virtually untouched. Clue? definitely knows how to move the crowd and does serve up another installment of exclusive material, but he implements little of the turntable manipulation that makes DJs so vital to the art of hip-hop. As Pete Rock stated ever so eloquently, "This I dedicate to those mixtapes I hate/Exclusive sh*t/It holds no weight/Put your skills on the plate/Backspin to '88."
AllMusic Review by Matt Conaway
feat: Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz