Brothers have a special type of bond. Love or hate, before and after anything, they will be family. In music there are popular acts that have just kept in the family, and the results, such as the Jackson 5 or The Isley Brothers have given the world some pretty powerful music. There is also a chance of failure or disappointment, expecting that the bond is innate to good music.
Kurupt [click to read] and Roscoe [click to read] are not only brothers, but also rep two coasts. As most Rap impresarios know, Kurupt has been implanted in the west coast since the ’90s. His brother, Roscoe, still carried overt ties to their native city: Philadelphia. After the Frank & Jess Story [click to read] less than a year ago, the brothers are back quickly with Tha Tekneek Files. With a talented producer holding the project together, this is the most polished project from the two Philaphornia emcees.
As the name would suggest, most of the production is helmed by Tekneek [click to read]. The Tangled Thoughts alum delivers some serious production on this album. One of the prime examples is “Check Check” [click to listen]. With cuts of dusty organ samples mixed with a four-four drum pattern, this track gives both Kurupt and Philadelphia veteran Freeway [click to read] a production motif akin to Pitch Black‘s “It’s All Real.” The extra scratch-cuts of Freezer and Young Gotti make this more than a typical mixtape collaboration, the stage is set for two generations of Philly emcees to come together.
He also gets in front of the microphone on the exciting “Throw Up DPG.” As the song starts out with the hook “Blowing sticky in the truck with the beat/big bucks on the feet with the gun in the seat / Throw the window down throwing DPG/ Fuck what you throwin’ up, I’ma do me,” you already know what this track is about. This is a west coast party track all the way through, from the booming baseline to the vocal sample. This track is sure to get the party live.
Tha Tekneek Files has its fair share of guest appearances. More often or not they work out well, like Nas appearing on “Gun 4 Gun remix.” Esco turns in one of the highlights of the album. He achieves this by speaking in his best voice, one as an observer, weaving the story for the listener. On a different plane than Nas, DXnext alum Sandman [click to read] takes over “Make It Clear.” The heavy bass-line gives the album gives Sandman’s punchlines more gravity. The snap of the snares lets the speedy flow maximize its potential to give you an enjoyable listen. The booming bottom on “I’m ‘Bout Mine” does the same for Jayo Felony, adding just a bit more street grime to his delivery. The snare and clash of the production smacks the listener with its grit.
While there are plenty of highlights, this album can surprise you with filler. “Hood in Ya Life” is a record that lacks the muster to become the anthem is wants to be. It runs out of steam. There is a stretch in the middle of the album where the pace slows down. It begins with the track, “The House” [click to listen] where the production tends to slow down and lacks the power of the previous tracks.
Even with that stretch, it rights the ship before the end of the trip. Tracks like “Back in the Hood” jolt this album back into the west coast swing. However, Tha Tekneek Files is too short to allow for style changes.
While this album has its moments where it falters, it comes back as a pretty solid experience. While some people tend to bump horns on the mic when the spotlight is on them, both Kurupt and Roscoe don’t clash. Quite simply, they make some pretty good music, and for that, you have to check the technique.