Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hip Hop Nostalgia 101, Session 23: Ultramagnetic MCs - Critical Beatdown (1988)

Kool Keith, the original founder, Ced Gee, Moe Love, and TR Love make up the Ultramagnetic MCs. After releasing a few singles, "To Give You Love" (1984), the classic "Ego Trippin" (1986), and "Traveling At The Speed of Thought (Original)/M.C.'s Ultra (Part Two) in 1987, the group released their debut album in 1988.


Release date- October 4, 1988



All songs produced by the Ultramagnetic MCs,  Ced Gee, and Paul C



1. Watch Me Now

 Sample check #1



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Watch and listen as Keith and Ced Gee bring the goods on this hype opener. Already Ced Gee's energy can't be denied.
Grade- A





2. Ease Back

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 Oh man, this bangin classic has aged so well! After telling you to "watch them" in the opener, now they demand you "ease back" on this one. I also feel this was one of Kool Keith's best performances on the mic.
Grade- A+





3. Ego Trippin (MC's Ultra Mix)

Sample check


The crew were the first to sample Melvin Bliss' "Synthetic Substitution", and while other artists would use this same sample in later years, the MC's arguably utilized it the best. Not only is this another classic, but they also come right out the gate with a shot at Run-DMC ("Peter Piper, to hell wit childish rhymes!"). That line right there, directly or indirectly depending on your point of view, was another confirmation of the changing of the guard in hip hop.
Grade- A+




4. Moe Luv's Theme

   Sample check #1



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This was a showcase for Moe Luv behind the boards, with Keith showing love on the mic as well.
Grade- A





5. Kool Keith Housing Things


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Lyrically Keith was housing things on this solo spot, another one of his best performances on the mic. On a sidenote, I miss that term, "housin".
Grade- A+





6. Traveling At The Speed of Thought (Remix)


Sample check #1



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This was a brief, but still dope, remix of the original.
Grade- B




7. Feelin It

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Keith and Ced Gee were definitely feelin it on this classic banger. Truly energetic.
Grade- A+





8. One Minute Less

Man, Ced Gee delivers one of the dopest one minute raps you'll ever hear. That, along with ANOTHER DOPE beat, justifies its rating, even though it's brief.
Grade- A+


9. Ain't It Good To You

How can this NOT be good to you, lol?! Again, another classic right here. Keith and Gee have lyrically been on fire throughout this album.
Grade- A+


10. Funky (Remix)

From the lyrics to the beat, this is funky all around.
Grade- A+


11. Give the Drummer Some


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"Give the drummer some of this funky soul we got here!" Yes indeed, truer words were never spoken when it came to this track.
Grade- A+





12. Break North

This one was good, nothing more or less.
Grade- B


13. Critical Beatdown



This is one energetic title track right here. Straight dope.
Grade- A+


    


14. When I Burn

Sample check #1



Sample check #2



Keith pulls no lyrical punches on this one. More dopeness as we head towards the end of the album.
Grade- A





15. Ced-Gee (Delta Force One)

Sample check

  
Even this closer leaves you wanting more! Cee Gee gets another solo spot and doesn't disappoint.
Grade- A+







Another incredible album from 1988 and it has definitely aged well in all areas. Today's generation may not appreciate the simple (yet dope) rhymes, but this was the style back in the day and it was embraced deservedly so. This album had classic production (breaking new ground at the time), well placed samples, and dope, energetic lyrics across the board, three makings of a classic album. Job WELL done.

[Sidenote: Although I own the original version released in 88, this album was reissued in 2004 with 6 bonus tracks.]



Final grade- A+

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