Artist: Various/Mike NardoneTitle: We Came From Beyond Vol. 2Rating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: aqua boogie
Fifteen years in hip-hop is equal to a little under fifteen millenniums in normal years. But for infamous LA radio DJ Mike Nardone, fifteen years is how long he has been steadfastly going about his business-exposing the best underground music hip-hop has to offer. Period. His latest compilation, Mike Nardone presents We Came From Beyond Vol. 2 is the follow up to 2001’s We Came from Beyond and continues the series’ devotion to showcasing better underground hip-hop music.
The album’s roster of off the commercial radar, heavyweight emcees is too many to list but I will mention J-Zone, People Under the Stairs and Planet Asia. The standouts are the Stones Throw record label emcees with Medaphoar (“Ain’t What You Thought”), Wild Child (“The Justice”) and particularly Oh No on “What the F###” making memorable contributions. Oh No, who happens to be über producer Mad Lib’s brother, continues to make his own mark by spittin’ vicious rhyme couplets over frantically paced horns and percussion. Other must hears include conceptual songs from Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox with “Why is the Sky Blue?” and Apani B. Fly MC (hey, she can rhyme and wears clothes too) with “Picture This”. The former is a lyrical remembrance of coming up as a b-boy and the latter is Apani’s reflections on all she’s seen, most visible on the poetic refrain, “I got sins, issues, puzzles to unravel/Came across many pitfalls in my travels/Stood at the edge, face to face with the answers/Close enough to touch it yet I only snatched a fragment…” But it’s not all memorable here with Esoteric, Celph Titled & Apathy’s “Devastating MC’s” and Aloe Blacc’s “Not the One” both getting rear-ended by lackluster production.
We Came from Beyond Vol. 2 serves as a virtual one stop for anyone seeking the rare gems in underground hip-hop’s rubble of nonsensical rhymes, too different to groove to beats and prettied up, but mediocre demos. On this album vastly different styles and techniques converge to make the album a kiosk of refreshing hip-hop in CD and vinyl form.