Vast Aire - OX 2010: A Street Odyssey

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The 15-track LP's aggressive boom-bap backdrop and sinister cypher rhymes harken the days when street records ran the airwaves. At it's best, it's refreshing.

There’s an inherent nostalgia to Vast Aire’s OX 2010: A Street Odyssey. Not only does the title strategically allude to his seminal debut, The Cold Vein (as part of duo Cannibal OX with Vordul Mega), but the 15-track LP’s aggressive boom-bap backdrop and sinister cypher rhymes harken the days when street records ran the airwaves. At it’s best, it’s refreshing.

“This is the kind of life I live / We gonna put you to sleep and take your rib / We gonna fondle your wife in front of your kids,” raps Vast Aire over Kount Fif’s brolic snare on “The Man Of Steel.” Fif delivers again on “Nomad,” mixing a rumbling gem layered lovely with blippy, electronic intonations. It sounds as if it’s designed for teleportation - or at least for disregarding the speed-limit. 

Aire’s innate eccentricity and metaphor-loaded lyrical utility belt keeps OX 2010 engaging despite it’s limited contextual range. His Addams Family extended reference on “Merry Go Round” - a Surock-produced soundtrack to VA’s twisted carnival - is a bit sloppy. But his Incredible Hulk/Deon Sanders flip on “Phenom” (produced by Harry Fraud) just may be the album’s finest:

“In the laboratory / Mixing up Gamma / Now my clothes is ready to rip like Banner’s / Now I’m dancing on the yard line like Sanders / Neon / You peon / Your arms is too short / To box / Dream on / You’re like pubic lice / You like to cling-on / ‘Cause I’m something like a Phenomenon.”

Kenyattah Black comes correct on “The Cannons Of Samus.” Raekwon The Chef wrecks shop on “Thor’s Hammer,” also featuring Vordul Mega (this LP’s lone true Cannibal OX reunion). The Ayatollah-laced, Guilty Simpson-assisted, “The Verdict” bangs straight to the soul, and “Dark Matter” is undoubtably the album’s opus.          

But undercutting OX 2010’s throwback stance is an unfortunate loquaciousness. He only sincerely veer’s from I’m-nicer-than-you commentary on the obligatory chick-track, “Horoscope,” and again to rehash his super played-out beef with Cage from his Def Jux days (“Battle Of The Planets”). It’s contextually redundant and “2090 (So Grimy)” sounds like a Dipset reject - the combination of which severely jeopardize replay value.

And even with that, OX 2010: A Street Odyssey is a suitable continuation to the Cannibal OX catalog, maintaining the integrity of the brand despite only one appearance by Vordul Mega. Man Bites Dog Records assembled a talented array of under-the-radar producers (sans Ayatollah) that crafted a cohesive sound for Vast Aire’s unapologetic lyrical griminess. Nostalgic or otherwise, it works for right now.

Purchase OX 2010: A Street Odyssey by Vast Aire

25 Comments

  • vsop

    Love this shit man..i have it as a top 5 album of 2011 thus far..Vast still has bars

  • Dillznick

    Any who doesn't realize NOMAD is the craziest beat on the album must be slow. This album should get a 4 just for that track alone, shit is fuckin out of this world ILL.

  • zmichin

    The Verdict and Merry go round the rest is zzzzzzzz next

  • ricky bobby

    Deeez...interesting comment. I thought this shit was a massive disappointment.

  • deeezz

    I thought Battle of the Planets was a diss to El-P and Def Jux, no?? He keeps sayin shit like "we built that house" and I felt like he was talkin to El P. Anyone REALLY know?

  • bizzalls

    Yo...WOW. "Nomad"....godddammmnnnn. That beat is fuckin DISGUSTING; Can't even explain it. That is probably one of the illest beats I've heard in YEARS, straight up. Shit is fuckin amazing, bigups to Kount Fif for that shit, wow. This album deserves more than a 3, though man, come on. Yea, the quality isn't as good as "Look Mom, No Hands" because he's not on Def Jux and doesn't have El-P anymore. BUT, these producers did a pretty good job of capturing that Vast Aire sound we're used to hearing. Some of the beats could have been better..But let's be honest, I think we can say that about every hip hop album that's come out in the last ten years...Good album, fasho. Shout out to Kount Fif again for that beat, that shit is too fuckin dope.

  • riley

    Dope album fuck the haters

  • gszam

    Merry Go Round was a little weird as far as the content goes yet its still dope... and its was hands down the Hardest beat on there. Shouts to Surock ill ass producer.Good album overall cant wait for another Cannibal OX album. Thor's hammer was ill, Verdict is dope, Cannon of Samus dig it 2. 4 stars

  • davidfresh

    There will never be another Cold Vein, so stop expecting one. That said, after hearing Cold Vein, I can't listen to any Vast album without cringing.

  • Ben

    3 stars is about right, couldv'e gone 3 and 1/2 but really, what is special/different about this album than 'Look Mom, No Hands' or 'Dueces Wild' or the Mighty Joseph album.... Real heads get the punchlines?? Please....I like Vast a lot, he is quite the abstract poet, but not incredibly deep. What you hear is pretty much all there is....except of course on the original Can Ox album, then it really is worth the replay....again and again, which is why it is the ONLY album that this man will ever be a part of that will have a long lifecycle.... Lets be honest...the same thing is missing from this album that is missing from EVERYTHING he has done since Can Ox. And unfortunately, neither one of them wants anything to do with the other

  • Anonymous

    Vast is dope for five tracks, but he can't hold the attention for an hour, I always preferred C-Rayz Walz or Vordul Mega.

  • JayCowle

    I love Vast's flow and wordplay. Consistently the best I Know, but this LP lacks what ColdVein had... Depth. Cold vein was about Love, hate, addiction, the city, and the universes. Vast you got talent bro, stop telling me how good you are and show it by capturing life in your bars.

  • mceihtcmw888888888888

    never got into cannibal ox's music before . theres too many rappers out here . but ill peep there cd catalog out and get back .

  • thehamburger

    Classic Vast album, everyone has a difference of opinion, at least reviewed and gave a forum for others to justify their own opinions. In my view this some Vast's greatest work, his word play is sharp as ever, his references and metaphors are as great as ever. Each artist makes a project with goal of expressing themselves, Vast found it necessary to include "Battle" as Cage found it necessary to include his song about Vast on his record.This is the nature of the artist, I think the song even though it is long is still entertaining. In raged Vast can make amazing songs as was the case with "9 Lashes" which was made on the behalf of Cage. I think this record deserves a better rating but I am no critic just a fan.

  • Elizabeth Renner

    THE YEAR OF THE O X !! @ \/ /\

  • BeatKingdom.org

    @) 20 outta 5 ALL day and thats on a present note pz i say HEATERZZZ

  • Anonymous

    DX REVIEWED this LP correctly. The high point are the BEATS. Vast Aire is dope & unique but after a whole album of metaphor-speak & off-kilter punchlines...it becomes blazayyyy...not to mention that some of the lines & choruses are borderline CORNY...then Vast wastes the bangin' track & epic feel of "BATTLE OF THE PLANETS" to diss CAGE (the new crowned prince of emo-rap) YET AGAIN!!! A RATING OF 3 IS RIGHT...DUDE NEEDS TO EVOLVE JUST A VERY SMALL SMIDGEON

  • Brandon Pitts

    OX we back!!!!!!! this is a 5. If it was rated below that , that means you didn't get about 1/2 the punch lines... Hidden Gems!

  • O N

    3 stars? the fuck man. wacka flcoka flame gets more love than vast aire on dx and in real life. way to hold the culture down, fucking idiots. if you fuck with cannibal ox youll fuck with this album. point blank period. witty bars, scientific content, spaced out break beats. best vast solo album IMO. this album here is like a killah priest album, it requires a brain, and some culture, to fully understand. 4/5 nice job vast

  • dustin

    3 is about right, if you ask me... Vast got exciting guests but his Rapper Show album is his best work to date, and seems to be the most effortless.

  • Anonymous

    3? Watch when J Cole's whack album comes out dx will lick his balls and give him a 4.5

  • Dustin Kount Fif Burdette

    3 stars??