I’m certainly not the first to post about this release, but even though I knew this was gonna be rocksolid at the very least, I wanted to take the time to let it work its magic on me.
In a nutshell, DJ A to the L and his partner MC M.E.R.C. from Talahassee, FL have gotten their wits and skills together to craft an album based on the alltime classic Tribe Called Quest record we all know and cherish. Calling it a “mixtape” really is a bit too modest, cos what they did was re-create the beats from the basics, adding a little twist here and there, while M.E.R.C. drops fresh verses over them that are playfully reminiscent of the originals, but still entirely new. In fact, M.E.R.C.’s voice is vaguely similar to Q-Tip’s, so that it’s both unsettling and the perfect fit, but he’s far from just copycatting. When I listen to M.E.R.C. I can’t help but think of how much work it must be to make it sound so effortless. He’s certainly on equal eye level with the Q, if not a bit above. On top of him, the album boasts the occasional guest-appearance on the mic of none other than A to the L himself (who kills it, if you ask me) and their local crew, some of whom can be heard on the Blazin’ 102.3 radio show Diggin in the Crates, as well, which is one of the outlets from where A to the L usually blesses his listeners with gems from “the deepest crates in the 850.” And that’s not just a gimmick line.
As you listen to this, what you can’t miss is the love and dedication these underground cats have for their art, and how fucking good they are at it. That’s what Ali Shaheed Muhammad says, too.
Have I mentioned it’s hilarious and clever in more ways than meets the ear at first? I’m pretty sure I’ll be pumping this joint for a good couple of months without getting tired of it.
I could babble on and on but I can’t spare you the listen. Go and do yourself a favour now. Thank them later.