A Bomb Squad

Jul 21, 1999 at 12:00 am

The Beat Junkies is a fitting name for two cats such as J-Rocc and Babu who are no doubt addicted to finding the perfect beat. Check out their new compilation-mix tape and not only will you finally remember to forget Funkmaster Flex and his commercial, corporate mixology, but you’ll hear something extremely satisfying, a record with quality lyrics, real tight beats and excellent mixing. What’s more, despite the high-profile MCs here – including Common Sense, Mos Def and Detroit’s own Eminem – the Beat Junkies make a real effort to showcase the talents of not necessarily younger, newer acts but just ones that have been around for a while without ever getting much respect. That the BJs give tracks to such rappers as Pharoahe Monch, Talib Kweli (Mos Def’s lesser known partner in rhyme and the other half of Black Star) and Company Flow isn’t just commendable – more than that, it makes the album.

Besides "I-9-9-9" (the first released single with Common and Sadat X), the standout tracks are: anything with the Mighty Mos Def (no lie), Eminem’s "Any Man" and "Chaos" by Reflection Eternal, featuring the champion of female rap, that badass Bahamadia. But the real joint on this is Company Flow’s "Patriotism," a militant, poetic indictment of phony gangsterism and America’s terminally ill consumer culture. The first verse kicks off with some true science: "I’m the ugliest version of passed down toxic capitalist rabid MC perversion, I’m AMERICA." Sho ’nuff.

On Soundbombing II, the Beat Junkies, with a little help from their friends, manage to create a coherent sound and consistent style over 27 tracks. The MCs are lyricists and the BJs scratch, cut and mix with a serious fire. The combination creates a listen marked by that East Coast head nod, creative braggadocio and a positive, old-school hip-hop vibe.

Further, J-Rocc and Babu relocate the attention on the DJ, taking us back to the way things used to be in the early ’80s. Soundbombing II has at least 10 cuts that should become hip-hop quotables and has more highlights than "ESPN Sports Center." So do like Em says on "Any Man" – his crazy, dope, maniacal contribution – and "reach in ya’ billfolds for 10 duckets and pick up this Slim Shady shit that’s on Rawkus."