It’s been over 20 years since Boogie Down Productions’ Criminal Minded and Just-Ice’s Back To The Old School were heard by the public’s ear; a clear sign of Hip Hop’s age. Yet time doesn’t seem to be stopping KRS One and Just-Ice from continuing their craft, as over two decades later the two Bronx lyrical gangsters are back with The Just-Ice and KRS One EP Volume 1.
Dull and uninspired title aside, the two outer borough emcees still maintain their trademark, creative flows. As Just-Ice brings forceful, rapid-fire raps to compliment the Blastmaster’s lyrical teachings, listeners will hear a strong resemblance to Rap’s past in their newest release. The only downside is that although executed uniquely, the concepts don’t always end up successful.
On more than half of the five-track release, the two choose the option of repetition to get their messages across. While “Blah, Blah, Blah” and “There it Is” take more of the “Ha” route by Juvenile, “Memories” takes the “Why” approach that Jadakiss utilized on Kiss of Death. “Blah, Blah, Blah” holds little replay value, with verses that either come off as the emcees trying too hard, or alternately not trying at all. Bars such as “all that blah, blah, blah, blah in your blah, blah, can lead to blah, blah, blah, in your blah, blah” just leave the duo’s audience scratching their heads. “There it Is” is a far more successful representation of the repetitive plan of action, as strings hover over a melodic bass line, backing thought-provoking musings and consistent flows.
On the surface, the old school-style instrumentals and sounds of some of Hip Hop’s earliest emcees will feel like a time traveling experience back to the good ol’ days, but upon further listen it becomes evident that The Just-Ice and KRS One EP Volume 1 leaves a lot to be desired. As they catch up to current times by making it a digital-only release, it seems that some of the finesse the emcees brought to the table is absent from their EP.