Hailed by many reviewers as a potential classic, It Ain’t Hard to Tell ‘09 emcee Lyriciss’ The Practice mixtape was packed from top to bottom with pure, uncut hip-hop goodness. Nowhere was this freshness more concentrated than on Hard Times, a collaborative cut so hot that guest contributor Muggsy Malone has elected to include it on his forthcoming, Booth-sponsored mixtape as well. Here, Equinox Productions’ soulful instrumental, sampled from a track of the same title by curiously-named soul group Baby Huey and the Babysitters, sets the stage for for lyrical reflections on the street life from Lyriciss, Malone, and fellow reader favorite K-Beta. While the headliner’s gritty rhymes and Beta’s conversational bars don’t disappoint, I was left most impressed by Malone’s tightly-wound wordplay on the back end: “In the ‘hood I felt like I was a chopped-down tree, and I would never leave.” Agree with my assessment? If so, you’ll be able to get a taste of Muggsy’s TPK (The Parkway Kid) street album later this spring, when he drops aptly-titled preview mixtape The Preview.