If anyone is proof that sales don’t mean shit when it comes to making quality music and spitting flames on the mic, it is Kool G Rap. Unlike fellow golden era legends Big Daddy Kane, KRS-One, Slick Rick and Rakim, G Rap doesn’t have a gold or platinum plaque to his name. Yet, among Jay-Z‘s infinite braggadocio he once boasted that hearing him rap was “like hearing G Rap in his prime.”
After splitting from long time partner DJ Polo to continue his career on the solo tip, G Rap didn’t disappoint with the knockin’ 4,5,6 in 1995. Unfortunately, that was as good as it got with G Rap‘s name on the marquee. It was 3 years before his next album (the disappointing Roots of Evil), and then another 4 until his oft-delayed Rawkus album The Giancana Story hit the shelves. With his violent street tales and sexscapades always in tow, he would have no problem appealing to today’s audience. It is just a matter of getting the product out there.
So here we are, with a new EP that has dropped out of thin air after much anticipation. The appropriately-titled Half A Klip may only be 9 tracks deep, but it brings the Kool Genius of Rap back where he needs to be. With production from former Juice Crew captain Marley Marl, DJ Premier, Domingo and Moss, the Queens legend is backed by the right kind of producers. The head-scratching appearance of Hilary Duff‘s sister singing the hook shouldn’t throw you, the Premier-produced “On The Rise Again” is all grit. G Rap‘s uncharacteristic off beat flow over Prem‘s melancholy production may not be either man at the top of his game, but it’s still better than 90% of what you’ll hear out there.
It is when reunited with the man who produced his first classic in Road to the Riches that we see the best results. Even if it is only one verse, G Rap turns in a classic verse over Marley‘s menacing organs on “With A Bullet.” Moss keeps it New York his quality contributions “The Life” and “What’s More Realer Than That.” The latter is a pretty vintage G Rap performance.
The only glaring weak spot on the EP is “Turn It Out,” a track that is just as cheesy as its horribly cliché hook; “riding to the club, candy coated on the dubs.” That doesn’t mean Half A Klip is flawless otherwise, other than on the original version of “100 Rounds” (from Domingo‘s The Most Underrated), and “With A Bullet” do you really get the G Rap of old; spitting breathless flames at a rapid pace. As long as this EP is just an appetizer for a main course soon to come, I’ll happily eat it up. Otherwise, there just isn’t enough to go around.