I love to do year in reviews, but this 2010 one is taking me way too long, and life has become too hectic for me to dedicate anymore sit-down time to TECB than I already do. Hopefully I’ll be able to make a post like this at least once a week — so by the end of 2011 you’ll know about every record/mixtape I bought throughout last year. Here’s one I wrote up a while ago…
I’ve listened to Nineteen Ninety Now, the collaboration between Celph Titled & Buckwild, about fifty times through now, and, with every listen, I’m in awe of how all of these beats didn’t get snatched-up when they were produced nearly two decades ago. However, I’m thankful they went untouched for so long. Without the vault of unreleased Buckwild beats, a concept record as ill as this would have never been able to see the light of day. Well it has, and who better to lay down explosive lyrics on these pieces of nostalgic boom-bap pricelessness than The Landmine Lieutenant. No one.
Celph has always had his way with words. The man is the one in the same with Lord Finesse when it comes to the metaphor mastery, but I’m uncertain if the grime that oozes out of Celph Titled’s mouth on Nineteen Ninety Now has been matched by anyone in the history of hip-hop. ”Fuckmaster Sex” is filled with enough hilarious filth to make a Too Short tape sound suitable for a classroom of kindegarteners, and “Tingin’” is gutter to the point where even Big Shug would guard his grill when Celph is swinging on the microphone. After listening to NNN, claims such as “holding the record for the most ignorant rhymes said” hold more weight than the ankles of Precious. That isn’t a bad thing, either, because Celph Titled is one of only the only cats left in hip-hop whose political incorrectness is actually still entertaining and acceptable. (Not to mention he digs fat birds, too.) Double standard or not, most emcees just aren’t willing to expose their rawness to the point of not giving a fuck like Celph does.
Demigodz brethren Apathy, Ryu, and Esoteric join Celph on “Swashbuckling,” a track so dope it guarantees a snapped-neck each time Buckwild changes the beat, and “There Will Be Blood,” featuring Sadat X, Grand Puba, A.G., O.C. and Diamond D, is crazy enough to cave-in the head of your neighborhood preacher with a bowling pin. ”Mad Ammo,” with Rugged Man and F.T. (Fuc That = Best name ever) making strong appearances, is yet another song that poses the threat of bodily harm to anyone within earshot. And, besides the blistering hot “Styles Ain’t Raw” and Mista Sinista providing all the cuts and slices throughout the entire album, there should be absolutely no more words I would have to share in vouching for how live this LP is.
If there was one line from Celph to represent Nineteen Ninety Nine, it would be the following: “Back to that gutter, back to that basement / Back to real live microphone skills and not gay shit.” It’s just that kind of record — the kind that will force wack emcees into early retirement, offend your mother, and charge your battery enough to have foes checking into their quality of dental insurance. It’s great.