Release date: August 19, 2014
Statik Selektah is an underrated, yet dope producer, and he has certainly contributed a lot to hip hop since 2006, behind the boards and on the wheels of steel. I own his first four albums, "Spell My Name Right: The Album," "Stick 2 the Script," "100 Proof: The Hangover," and "Population Control," as well as albums with Bumpy Knuckles ("Ambition"), which really grew on me via the second listen, and Termanology ("1982-2012"). I did check out his fifth album, 2013's "Extended Play," which was decent in spots, but nothing special overall. Here we have album number six, "What Goes Around", and I'm glad I got around to checking it out.
The album begins with a brief, yet dope opener with M.O.P.'s Lil Fame and Ea$y Money on the title track, followed by the pretty good Joey Bada$$ and Freddie Gibbs, horn laced "Carry On." Speaking of horns, that same soulful vibe is present on "The Thrill Is Back," featuring Styles P and Talib Kweli. It's VERY good and always nice to hear two MCs of their caliber wanting to bring that spark back to hip hop, which is LACKING as you read this. Other good/decent songs are "Alarm Clock" (Ab-Soul, Jon Connor, and Logic), "Slum Villain" (Joey Bada$$), the apply titled closer "God Knows" (Bun B, Pos of De La Soul, and Jared Evan), and "The Chopper," complete with some NICE instrumentation, featuring Jon Connor, who kills this one, and Ransom.
As far as I'm concerned, there are three major highlights on "What Goes Around", starting with the Action Bronson, Royce da 5'9, and Black Thought assisted banger "The Imperial." Bronson and Royce did their thing, but just like I seem to type every time Black Thought comes with a guest appearance, he steals the show here. Man, can we PLEASE get a solo album Mr. Thought? It would REALLY be appreciated, lol!!! Much like that banger, "Down With Us" features another damn good lineup, this time with Sheek Louch, Pharoahe Monch, and Crooked I, the latter of whom kills it with his closing verse. It was also nice to see the reuniting, if you will, of Heltah Skeltah for the fast paced "Heltah Selektah." What you hear is what you'll get from Sean Price these days (nothing wrong with that), but Rock has not lost one step and still sounds just like he did in '96. I'm still hoping to get some solo material from Rock. The rest of the album is honestly hit or miss, especially when things slow down in the middle. I will say that "Drunk & High" was a waste of appearances by Termanology and Reks (not so much for Noreaga, with all due respect).
Overall, this was a very good, 4 star album, Statik's best since the "100 Proof" album. I liked how he collaborates mostly with a variety of underrated/underground artists and those who have been in the game for years. I also liked how he stepped up his efforts behind the boards, bringing a more soulful vibe with effective instrumentation that you really don't hear nowadays. Recommended.