Hip-hop 'em dead

Feb 16, 2000 at 12:00 am

New Jersey’s Outsidaz brings a much-needed bit of perspective to East Coast hip hop with its pared-down, percussive beats and spitting, battle-style delivery. The MC collective (which at one time included Detroit’s own Bizarre, now of D12 fame) never gets into the "yeaah yeaah" / "knowhatI’msayin’" sameness of their East Coast brethren, but instead reignite primal hip-hop fury in all its hungry, gory glory.

The opening, "Don’t Look Now," rewires an action-series theme for its beat while MCs trade verses about blowing up and showing up on magazine covers, sounding more like they’re daydreaming out loud than just boasting and toasting. Similarly, "Money Money Money" is as much about not having it as, more predictably, getting paid: "I’m trying to keep money" is the chorus.

The Rah Digga-featuring "Fuck Y’All Niggas" is TLC’s "Pigeons"-"Scrubs" debate regressing back to its Jerry Springer Too-Hot-for-TV roots; it won’t win points for social consciousness, but it still rocks. Utica’s own Eminem even shows up on "Rush Ya Clique," which shows the Outsidaz busting its own version of the Em-one’s internal rhyme flow, then it pays homage (about time somebody did) to Kool Keith with the "Dr. Octagon" chorus of "Night Life."

Smart enough to make tracks that can get on the radio, but good enough that that’s not all they’re for, Outsidaz is a bitch-slap to the face of all that sing-sing, bling-bling sameness.