FULL DISCLOSURE: I am affiliated with Crown City Records, and am friends with the members of Dues Been Paid.
RATING: 4 CHET BAKERS
When I sat down and started listening to the new EP by Dues Been Paid, a "super group" if you will, made up of Camiliano, Rod Da Blizz & Thruway, I had an immediate memory of 90's era hip hop. That was my favorite time for hip hop music, as anyone that has read anything I've written regarding hip hop already knows. That was, in my opinion, hip hop's finest era, and New York's finest era as well. You had so many dope MC's coming out of New York and putting out hot music during that time. Artists like Big L, AZ, Boot Camp Click, Black Rob, Canibus, Lost Boyz, Wu-Tang, Mos Def, Jay Z and of course "The Real King of New York", Christopher Wallace aka The Notorious B.I.G., just to name a few.
That era of hip hop was something else, man. That grimy feel to it, that had so many artists that served as the ultimate antithesis to the more pop aspects of Bad Boy Records that seemed to permeate the radio and MTV back then. It was that grimy hard edged hip hop that struck a chord with so many people within the five boroughs of New York and beyond the borders of the state.
I remember listening to some old DJ Lazy K tapes and she always had that grimy shit on there. That hardcore street rap music. I always marveled at some of those tapes because as someone that wasn't from New York, all I heard on the radio seemed to be Top 40 style hip hop/R&B (Which admittedly I loved and still love), but these tapes were completely different, and showed a whole other side of hip hop music. The aspects that lingered in the shadows waiting to f**k up someone who walked by in a shiny suit.
And that's what Dues Been Paid reminded me of. That street wise, hard edged rap that I remembered listening to back in the 90's. And to be honest it was a breath of fresh air. I've made no bones about the fact that in all honestly I despise what is passed off as "hip hop" these days. I can't stand it, man. I understand that there are phases that hip hop has always gone through. We've had the kind of fun loving party rap type stuff like Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, JJ Fad, Kid & Play, etc, and we've had the more politically oriented hip hop like Public Enemy and Brand Nubian and Boogie Down Productions, and we've had the more street oriented artists like AZ and 50 Cent and whatnot. And between phases of greatness, we have the mediocre shit. I get that.
MORE AFTER THE BREAK