Monday, December 29, 2014

Revisiting Das EFX's "Generation EFX"

After three straight DOPE albums in the form of "Dead Serious", "Straight Up Sewaside", and "Hold It Down", Skoob and Drayz returned in 1998 with their 4th album, the creatively titled "Generation EFX", their first album in 2 1/2 years.


Release date: March 24, 1998


1. "Intro" 
Returning straight from "the sewa", this 32 second intro does get you ready for the album.

2. "Raw Breed"
Produced By Solid Scheme and Angel "8-Off" Aguilar

Not necessarily the bangin opener that "Mic Checka", "Undaground Rappa", and "No Diggety" were, respectively, but overall it's a fairly decent song.
*3 out of 5*

3. "Shine"
Produced By Tony L.

"If I shine, you shine, everybody shines", yep we have heard songs like this before, but Das' version is pretty cool. The "Just a Touch of Love" sample, courtesy of Slave, may suggest a more commercial/radio friendly sound than in the past, but this works in my view.
*4 out of 5*

4. "Somebody Told Me"
Featuring Nocturnal and 8-Off Aguilar
Produced By Angel "8-Off" Aguilar

    Well, looks like Nocturnal wasn't MIA immediately following EPMD's "Back In Business" album in 97 after all, lol. It's all good. This joint is all about the "paper chase", nothing more or less.
*3 out of 5*

5. "Set It Off"
Produced By Rashad Smith, Co-Produced By Armondo Colon

Remember what I said about "Shine" suggesting a more commercial/radio friendly sound? That's exactly what this song was and they were trying a little too hard on that end, plus they didn't sound all that energetic on this one either.
*2.5 out of 5*

6. "No Doubt"
Featuring M.O.P. and Teflon
Produced By Solid Scheme

 A very good collaboration right here, which finds the rugged, aggressive style of M.O.P. (and Teflon) rubbing off on Drayz and Skoob to dope results.
*4 out of 5*

7. "Rap Scholar"
Featuring Redman
Produced By Rashad Smith, Co-Produced By Armondo Colon

The Brick's classic "Dazz" is worked WELL on this thumping Redman assisted song.
*4 out of 5*

8. "Generation EFX"
Featuring EPMD
Produced By Parrish "PMD" Smith, Co-Produced By Angel "8-Off" Aguilar

In a year where M.O.P.'s "4 Alarm Blaze" was not only one of 98's best songs but also effectively used Survivor's "Eye Of The Tiger", this title track sounds tame in comparison. They tried though, I'll give them that.
*3 out of 5*

9. "Rite Now"
Produced By Mike Loe

  A decent song, but nothing special. Based on how it seemingly abruptly ends, they couldn't wait to be done with this track.
*3 out of 5*

10. "Whut Goes Around"
Featuring Miss Jones
Produced By Parrish "PMD" Smith

This was not bad, but Drayz and Skoob seemed a bit out of place rocking over a sampled version of The Bros. Johnson's "Strawberry Letter 23".
*3 out of 5*

11. "Make Noize"
Produced By Solid Scheme

Good, apply titled song here. The "call & response" hook was a nice touch as well.
*4 out of 5*

12. "New Stuff"
Produced By Parrish "PMD" Smith, Co-Produced By Angel "8-Off" Aguilar

  This song, while an ok one, is something different than what the title suggests.
*3 out of 5*

13. "Take It Back"
Featuring and produced By Parrish "PMD" Smith

I really like the throwback vibe here, courtesy of Davy DMX's "One For The Treble". Very good and fast paced.
*4 out of 5*

14. "Change"
Produced By Angel "8-Off" Aguilar

Drayz and Skoob essentially pen an open letter to hip hop, talking about "her" many ups, downs and changes over the year and later thanking her for allowing them to have a career.
*4 out of 5*

15. "Rap Scholar (Original Version)"
Featuring Redman
Produced By Parrish "PMD" Smith

There's a few differences here and there on this bonus track, but in the end it's just as good as song 7.
*4 out of 5*



Overall, this album is fairly good (3.5 stars, which is somewhat generous), but not spectacular by any means and nowhere near close to the quality of their first three albums. Let's talk about a few things, first the lyrical content. Drayz and Skoob are not saying anything new on this album. While listening to this, you get the vibe that they have done all of this before but better. Second, the production. It's good but not great, a true step down from the sounds of albums 1-3. Third, the vibe, which is up and down for the most part. At times they seemed energetic (specifically on the songs with M.O.P. and Redman), but more often than not, throughout the majority of the album they sound uninspired and (clearly) in a hurry to get the songs over with (a part of that has to do with the production in my view). And fourth, the timing. Well, all things considered, did this come out a few years too late? Let's go back in time a bit. After 1995's "Hold It Down", we have the STACKED year that was 1996, and quite frankly had "Generation EFX" dropped that year, it would've got lost in the shuffle very quickly. It's possible that 1997 would've been a better year for an album like this rather than 1998, but then again had this same album came out, the feedback likely would've been the same and it would've been even more slept on than "Hold It Down" was in 95. Continuing to look back, with hip hop still in the process of going through many changes and reeling from the unfortunate deaths of Tupac and Biggie, I don't think this album was on anyone's radar at the time in 98 (not to mention a "3 mic" rating in The Source magazine) and basically due to the total lack of response this album, they wouldn't release another album until 2003's "How We Do".

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