Taking in the present day’s infatuation with fantasy sports, it’s easy to create similar propositions in Hip Hop. A full album with just The Notorious B.I.G. and DJ Premier would have been interesting, for example. Perhaps Nas rhymes over Ant beats would work well, too. For some, that’s the kind of album we’re getting as KRS-One links up with Show (f/k/a Showbiz) to present their latest project, Godsville. The Boogie Down Productions emcee with a D.I.T.C. rep? What’s not to like there? Unfortunately, as the NBA’s Miami Heat are currently showing, dealing with a rough few games of late, sometimes things don’t always pan out for big collaborations.
It’s interesting that Godsville starts off with a soundbyte from Jay-Z. He comes to mind because, despite “aging” in Hip Hop, he hasn’t shown any signs of this, dropping ageless bars and hits of late. The same has not always been true for KRS and it shows on this album as well. Few can debate against KRS and Showbiz being legendary, but The Teacha sometimes drops the mic on this project. For instance, KRS unleashes dated references (“I got a special delivery like G-Dep”) that just make the album have an older feel to it, in a negative way. He also gets repetitive at times. For instance, he rhymes “handling biz” three times in three songs. Beyond all of that, he also showcases mediocre punchlines that seem forced (“One blast will leave y’all freckle-faced, measles”).
It’s not always lackluster, however. “Show Power” is an example of that as he demonstrates the kind of skill that has earned him respect for decades. “I’m not through with you, reusable, lyrically irrefutable, to some of y’all, KRS is new to you.” He then flexes this again on “The Truth,” rhyming, “I write about the spirit that is the lyric it gives experiences to kids before they do bids.” In this case, teach on, Teacha.
Showbiz provides great tracks to let KRS shine (or falter). The smooth and melodic “This Flow” is a highlight for Show as the piano keys and sampled hook create a vintage feel that sounds engaging, proving that going back in time isn’t always a bad thing. The same can be said for the head-nodder titled “Running in the Dark,” which lets KRS have a platform that suits him well as he advises us to, “Remember the dark makes you stronger, the light makes you comfortable.” The greatness of A.G.'s longtime bandmate here as that he sometimes carries the album, allowing it to be heard despite inconsistency on the mic. For example, Showbiz provides the mellow “Another Day,” which bangs despite the repetitive rhymes KRS drops there. The chemistry is sometimes may be off, but overall, they make an interesting duo, if nothing else.
Nostalgic fans that rejoiced when the "Sound of da Police" makers' full-length collaboration was announced may be a bit thrown off by this album, but they shouldn’t be too down on it. While the disc provides some major flaws, it’s still worth a listen for any D.I.T.C. supporter or any KRS fan, for that matter. This disc will certainly not draw to many new fans, but it will give loyalists an album to bump, despite some of its pitfalls. Sure, it’s not the fantasy collaboration many hoped for, but if nothing else, it reminds fans of timeless joints and gives everyone the chance to revisit true classics.