Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A review of Tony Touch's "The Piece Maker 3: Return of the 50 MCs"

Respected DJ Tony Touch has been on the mixtape scene since the mid 1990s. I haven't heard a lot of his mixtapes, but the ones I have heard, including the inaugural "Diaz Brothers" with another DJ I support, Doo Wop, have largely been very good. The first edition of "The Piece Maker", released in 2000, was largely awesome and I recommend a revisit for those who haven't played it in a long time, as well as first time listeners. He did release a part 2 in 2004, but it received LESS buzz than its predecessor. Almost 10 years later, Mr. Touch returns with part 3, and looking at this lineup, it's shaping up to be impressive.

1. Tony Touch & D Stroy - Touch And D Stroy
Produced By: DJ Premier
This was a damn good opener, and those familiar with the legendary "boom bap" sounds of DJ Premier will instantly nod their heads to this. D Stroy comes correct too. 4 out of 5

2. Rah Digga - Ladies First Freestyle
Produced By: Psycho Les
For starters, it's nice to hear Rah Digga on a track again, even if it's for a 1:39 freestyle. Speaking of freestyles, talk about another lost art in today's hip hop world. It's almost as if they don't exist anymore. But don't worry, there are more coming up on this project, and Digga's contribution was a good one. 3 out of 5

3. Masta Ace & A.G. - Double A
Produced By: Psycho Les
My #6 favorite MC of all time, Masta Ace, blesses this one, but hot damn, A.G.'s verse was SO tight and even I have to admit he stole the show here. 4 out of 5

4. Busta Rhymes, Roc Marciano, Reek da Villian, & J Doe - Hold That
(Not sure who produced this one)
Over a nice beat with a circa mid 90s vibe along with a well timed M.O.P. sample, all four MCs work this beat like magic, especially Roc Marciano, who is considerably still growing on me as we speak and Busta Rhymes, who delivers another energetic guest appearance (and again, WHY is signed to YMCMB?). 4 out of 5

5. M.O.P. - You Know You Love This
Produced By: Lil Fame
To respond to Lil Fame's hook, yes I do love this one and I'm sure the listening audience will too. I respect M.O.P.'s longevity in hip hop, and whether they are together or on separate tracks, they still sound dope, and Lil Fame's production is getting better too. 4 out of 5

6. Too Short, Kurupt, & Xzibit - V.I.P.
Produced By: Koolade
We get some decent West Coast flava here, as Short, Kurupt, and Mr. X to the Z drop good bars over a nice Koolade track. 3.5 out of 5

7. B-Real - Hit This (Freestyle) 
Produced By: Psycho Les
Short and sweet here.

08. Papoose and Uncle Murda - Brooklyn's The Borough 
Produced By: Tony Touch
Papoose killed this joint, while Uncle Murda honestly brought nothing to the table with his verse. 3.5 out of 5
9. Sean Price & Guilty Simpson - Random 
Produced By: PF Cuttin
2/3 of Random Axe show up to spit nicely over a track provided by PF Cuttin. I like this one right here. 4 out of 5

10. Black Thought - Thought Process
Produced By: Psycho Les
1:28, that's IT for this one, lol??!! Either way, Black Thought delivers an impressive performance in such a short amount of time. Can this man PLEASE release a debut solo album after the next Roots project? I'm begging for it! 4.5 out of 5

11. The Lox - B.A.R.S. 
Produced By: JuJu
Anytime we get all three members of the Lox on a track, you can expect bars, pun intended, and that's what we get here. Much like M.O.P., they continue to sound good, especially when they're together. 4 out of 5

12. Liknuts - World Premier 
Produced By: Psycho Les
This was good, but it seems like the group formerly known as Tha Alkaholiks were aiming for laughs on this one, but I can tell the lyrics are still there. 3 out of 5

(Update: Liknuts is comprised of The Beatnuts and Tha Alkaholiks.) 

13. Raekwon, JD Era, Ghostface Killah, & The RZA - Unorthodox 
Produced By: Tony Touch & Psycho Les
This was certainly one appropriately titled song, but overall it's good, just look at the lineup. 3 out of 5 

14. Eminem - Symphony in H
Produced By: Eminem

Well for a return it felt a little short, mostly because we have heard all of this before from Eminem. 2.5 out of 5

15. Twista & Bun B - Bounce 
Produced By: Psycho Les
I've frequently said that although I've never been a big fan of Twista, however, he usually does deliver some dope guest verses and this is one of them. I'm a long time fan of Bun B, but I honestly wasn't feeling his verse like that. I'm not sure if it's due to him aging, but he REALLY sounded like he just literally woke up before laying down this verse, and I don't mean that as a form of disrespect. 3.5 out of 5

16. Thristin Howl III - One Person Thirstin'
Produced By: Thristin Howl III 
I wasn't too impressed with this one, even though it was brief. 2 out of 5

17. Willie The Kid - Power Cypha 
Produced By: A Villa
This was good, more of a freestyle vibe. 3 out of 5

18. Action Bronson & Kool G Rap - A Queen's Thing 
Produced By: Statik Selektah
This was about what I expected from all involved, especially when it comes to the lyrics and production. 3 out of 5

19.KRS-One, Fat Joe, & Sadat X - Take It to the Bronx
Produced By: Psycho Les

First off, Psycho Les' beat is a banger (more on him later), KRS showed he still has it, I don't think I've heard Fat Joe this (semi) inspired in YEARS, and Sadat X was on another level with his verse. 3.5 out of 5

20. Termanology - Aw Shux 
Produced By: Tony Touch

Something short and sweet from Termanology. 3 out of 5

21. Prodigy - Street Corner (Freestyle) 
Produced By: JuJu

For a freestyle, this wasn't bad, but not spectacular. 2 out of 5

22. Joell Ortiz, Royce Da 5'9, & Crooked I - Slaughter Session 
Produced By: Just Blaze

Minus Joe Budden, 3 members of Slaughterhouse kill this awesome Just Blaze production, and it gives the Black Thought track a run for its money as the best song on this project. 4.5 out of 5

23. Redman, Method Man, & Erick Sermon - Let's Go 
Produced By: Erick Sermon

Yes indeed, these three vets STILL have it, and Mr. Sermon can still bring it behind the boards. 4 out of 5

24. N.O.R.E, Al Joseph, & Reek da Villian - Questions 
Produced By: Charlie Brown

N.O.R.E. went in on this one, answering quite a few questions with his verse too. Al Joseph's verse was decent. 3 out of 5

25. Gob Goblin, Starvin B, & Spit Gemz - GMI (Freestyle) 
Produced By: Psycho Les
This was a dope, closing freestyle. 3.5 out of 5

Allow me to begin by talking about the production. While most of it was pretty damn good, the star as far as I'm concerned is Psycho Les, as his beats brought out the best in those involved and every track bearing his name was bangin. The first half of this project, up until the "Unorthodox" song was TIGHT and it very well could've been 4.5 stars on its own, and while the second half tends to drag just a little, things pick back up a bit with the Red/Meth/Sermon and Slaughterhouse tracks, respectively. Overall, I'll give this a solid 4 star rating along with a recommendation. Tony Touch did a great job here, and another thing I like a lot was the fact that most of the artists you hear on the radio today were nowhere to be found on this project, and that's what made it so good. The last thing this project needed was some ignorant song bringing down the quality. 

And one last thing, um, where was Doo Wop?? I was hoping he would show up on this one. I guess there's always next time!!!  


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