After 25 years of loyal Mash Out Posse support, having copped every album they dropped (ignoring the one where they yelled old songs over geetars), gone toe-to-toe against Combat Jack by arguing they were better than EPMD on account of their longevity, made a complete cunt of myself when I saw them live and stole a bunch of their beers and almost forgiven them for the uninspiring LP they did with the Snowgoons, now they slap me in the face with the Street Certified EP, which is a complete shambles in terms of the kind of music we know and luh from Fame and Danze.
Not everyone appreciated their take on Tears For Fears’ ‘Shout’ on ‘187,’ but I staunchly defend that song to the very end. If nothing else, it reminded me to find my old Cash Money and Marvelous tape. Then I heard the song with Busta Rhymes, which was impeded by a pretty shitty beat and whatever it is that Trevor Smith does these days. I tried not to be alarmed, but when I got my hands on the complete project earlier this week I found myself bitterly disappointed. After sitting through their first project in three years, I wanted to throw myself in front of a speeding bus instead of the usual M.O.P. effect that previously inspired the destruction of random car windows with a bat of some description.
The primary issue here is the production. After posing the question ‘Is Lil’ Fame The New Primo?’ in XXL in 2011, Fizzy Womack has decided to hand over beat duties to a bunch of other dudes not named DJ Premier (who allegedly served as the executive producer here, whatever that means). The only decent track not named after the police code for homicide is ‘Heistmasters’, which strangely shares the same title as a superior song from their first album from 1994. DJ Skizz contributes a solid beat here, but it still doesn’t match the chemistry of the Brownsville duo over their own music. As for everyone else? The R&B hooks and self-consciously ‘modern’ beats really don’t cut the mustard for me.
Perhaps as a direct consequence of the less-than-inspiring musical accompaniment, even the usually triumphant Shout Rap stylings seem to be lacking their usual vigour on all but the aforementioned ‘187’. (Noticing a pattern here?) No amount of branded ammo boxes and sweatbands can compensate for the fire having gone out of the once ‘FIIIYYYYAAAAAHHHH’ vocal duties. Too much time is spent name-checking and complaining about blogs. Why are M.O.P. wasting time on the internet instead of knocking over bootleg CD tables? Wait, who the fuck is bootlegging CDs in 2014?
You want to speak about guests? After years of official cameos from GURU, Freddie Fox and Kool G Rap, the best that they can do is invite Mobb Deep and Maino on deck? Where’s Teflon – aka the Big Noyd of the First Family – when you need him? Even the traditional Mash Out bluesey joint rings hollow, lacking the brutal honesty that made jams like ‘What The Future Hold’ so effective. I never thought I’d have to write these words, and, as much as it pains me to say it, Street Certified sounds like a couple of old veterans going through the motions. Not because they want to, but because they have to. Count me out on this ride.