If you're looking for some original hip-hop
then look no further than Phokuss. This is one of Staten Island's illest new
groups. Right now they have their tremendous More Statements Vol.2 CD out
and weighing in at 22 tracks it is a full package bursting at the seams with
skills and dope sounds. The guys are hurting though as Danny Hill their
manager tells me that they got burned by the industry. Apparently they gave
a CD to Cassidy's manager and a while later Cassidy come out with a track
that sounds remarkably like theirs. This is a familiar story, but the crew
are generous enough to say that it is possible that Cassidy sampled the same
beat they did. What they really want now is people to give them a chance. I
was lucky to receive a three track sampler and can confirm that Cue, Scraps,
Rigs and Docs do indeed have something to say and you should try to fit them
CD Track Listing
2. No Idea
3. West Indian Skit
4. Big It Up
5. I Don't Care
6. Sparks (88.9)
7. I Ain't Got Much
8. The Stick Up
9. Po' (Uh Huh)
10. Powder Skit
11. Staten Bitches
12. Nostalgic Feat. Greta
13. It's Too Late
16. Aye Cue Feat. Greta
17. Make Money
18. King Of The Streets
19. Do That
20. Low Jack Tribute
Across the three tracks the production is primarily undertaken by Gooch for T.M.I.
The sound is sold and well produced. The beats are classical and the MCs are
all proficient and come across clear.
The first tack on this sampler, Po has a kinda light piano
arrangement this time produced by Deezo, which contrasts with the deep tale
of what the struggle is like when you have no money. The prejudices that you
face both in the work place or when you are on benefits especially when you
can't afford decent clothes or even food until on day you end up running up
No Idea has harder production, the drums are fatter and the string
loop is emotionally evocative. Essentially a assertion of their skills in
the true sing your own praises style of braggadocio rap they guys manage to
lay it all in the line. When the guys spit they sound fantastic and are able
to string several similes together and drop on beat. For some reason I just
get the feeling that the guys are keeping something in reserve. Perhaps it
is because there is a fair bit of chat before they really get into it or as
they say I just have No Idea of what they are really capable of. Perhaps it
is also that the flows are pretty basic and there isn't much change in the
tone and inflection of the voice between the talk, the rap and even the
chorus. However I guess that is what you need for a banger like this.
Hustler tackles another different aspect of the usual Hip Hop topics.
There is is kinda creeping arrangement for the music which lends its self to
the lyrical descriptions of doing deals and twisting rules to survive.
Throughout the verse, but increasing in the chorus there is a soulful female
singer adding an extra touch to the production, ' I'm a hustler, but its not
my choice'. This crew really let you know how they feel about the grind and
all the little things legitimate or not to flip their cash.
The sound is lavish and accomplished, their heritage is correct and they are
starting to make moves. Make sure you seek it out and hear Phokuss before they blow up!