I’d like to kick off this review by talking about my favorite subject, me. And as much as I’d like to claim that my mom listened to Shook Ones Pt. II while giving birth, then weaned me on St. Ives and 40s, during my youngest years I was no more hip-hop literate than your average American. I’d love to say I fell in love with hip-hop overhearing someone blast Paid in Full on the playground one day, I fell in love slowly but surely, one beat and one bar at a time. It wasn’t until …
DJBooth Album Review
M-Phazes new album Phazed Out is the closest thing I’ve heard to those rap glory days in a minute. A 12-track project that finds the Australian producer remixing some of the dopest joints sitting in Coalmine Records’ vault, Phazed-Out would never even consider making a “track for the ladies”. The only type of ladies Phazed Out is interested in are the kind who say things like, “Schooly D never gets enough credit for essentially inventing gangster rap.” And it certainly doesn’t hurt that the Beat Junkies’ DJ Rhettmatic pulls blending duty, giving the album a mixtape feel – you know, way back when mixtapes were actually mixed, and on tape.
Phazed Out has no shortage of microphone firepower – we’ll get to that soon – but it’s only right to focus first and foremost on the album’s namesake, M-Phazes. A Gold-Coast beatsmith whose roots run underground and has been making moves in the good ol’ U.S. of A. by working with Talib Kweli, Pharoah Monch, Emilio Rojas and more, Phazes is obviously schooled in the ways of the old school but isn’t stuck there – the perfect choice for a project like this. On Another Classic he turns a horn line into a head-nodder guaranteed to cause chiropractic problems, and on The Raw he layers distorted instrumentation until you can barely tell where the beat starts and ends. But as good as the man is at starting a bar brawl, his more laid back production is truly his strength (although far more subtly so). 2 The Death blends shaking percussion with chopped piano lines that bare the faintest hallmarks of Dilla’s influence, while Super Good isn’t afraid to bath in minimalism, slowly shifting around a bell line that unexpectedly flips into boom-bap percussion on the hook. There’s no doubt about it, Phazed Out is the work of a craftsman.
Beyond the beats though, Phazed Out breathes a second life into a lot of tracks that deserve a second look, which is precisely the mission of an actual remix. Standout among this category is Heltah Skeltah’s Midnight Madness, which now finds Ruck and Rock dropping their unstoppably vicious rhymes over an appropriately ominous instrumental, while the aforementioned Another Classic gives Burke and For the Record emcee Torae a strong foundation to lay waste to wack emcees. And I couldn’t end this without mentioning the aptly-named The Raw, which brings together two generations of NYC emcees by giving Saigon, Bekay and Wu-Tang alum Inspectah Deck a home to spit rhymes so raw the microphone must have caught salmonella.
It’s rare to find an album this easy to write about, but Phazed Out does what it set out to do so well there’s really no complication here. Maybe you’re just like a young Nathan S., looking for a soundtrack to fuel your late night shenanigans, or maybe you just want to recapture the energy of those early days. Either way Phazed Out has you covered . As for everyone else...they probably stopped reading this review a long time ago to watch Twilight, so f**k em. (Sorry, that obscenity is just the Phazed out talking. Actually, I don’t apologize. F**k em.)
DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 02/21/12
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First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Witty Unpredictable (M-Phazes Remix)" (2009)
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