Although there have been plenty of “projects” – some of them quite impressive, it has been nearly 12 years since fans have had product from Ras Kass that feels like it an album. With Priority records and California State Corrections finally behind him, Ras Kass releases his Kickstarter-funded A.D.I.D.A.S. The title which is an acronym for All Day I Dream About Spitting, showcases the emcee doing what he does best. Free from the confines of label politics and impending criminal cases its apparent from the jump that Ras is enjoying every second of spitting.
Lyrically, the “Waterproof Emcee” is still on another level. Every single one of the 28 tracks has its share of quotables. Even the worst track on the album, “Me and My Kids” hears Ras spitting, “Even when my shorty spit niggas hit the deck / It brings a whole new meaning to me coming correct.” Without question, the man who brought the world a lyrical masterpiece in Soul on Ice is still the envy of his peers. Like any Ras project, some of the lyricism may be too dense, as has historically been the case – with even well-read listeners playing catch-up. It’s clear that from 10 plus guest appearances on the album, that his peers are still using the artist as their bar. Artists like Royce Da 5’9″, Canibus, and Chino XL usually steal the show lyrically on an album and while all bring forth dope contributions none are Ras Kass. Only Jean Grae and Ice-T’s verses stand out in a project full of quotables from Ras Kass.
Ras Kass’s first two projects gave him the reputation of a superb artist who was plagued by his choice of questionable production. The counter-point to Razzy’s ear has long been Diamond D‘s “Soul On Ice” remix, and later leaked work with DJ Premier and Rick Rock. On A.D.I.D.A.S., he recruits close to 20 producers to assist on the project. There are 26 tracks on the album and nearly a different producer for each track, and the album lacks a cohesive nature due to that. Each beat-maker brings a different style and at times the project can seem manic. The production itself is hit or miss with the only consistency being Ras’s lyrical assault. A.D.I.D.A.S. brings forth a long awaited reunion with Alchemist on “Linguistics.” It’s easily one of the best tracks on the album. Skillz takes care of the hook and Ras slays a dope beat by Al. The track sees Razzy adding to his repertoire of spitting knowledge and still sounding relevant as he did on “Interview of a Vampire” and “Soul on Ice.” Even the intro hears Ras sounding as comfortable as ever over production, while Mr. Porter on “Radio” continues his hot trend and DJ Noriega might have produced the best track on the album with “Muse.” Without question there is a lot to love about this project, with “Muse” and “Linguistics” being the most noteworthy.
With that 12-year break between official releases, Ras surely wanted to give fans as much as he could on this album. It’s hard to knock Ras Kass for releasing a double CD, but unfortunately it’s a valid complaint. It’s an admirable gift to fans given this project’s inception, but if the project was condensed, it could have been stellar from top to bottom. Tracks like “Me and My Twins” have no business on a Ras Kass album. The same could be said for tracks like “Mr. Right, “On Top” and “3008.” Ras’ top tier lyrical abilities can’t even compensate for poor production, terrible hooks and questionable topics. He still manages to have a moment or two during these lesser than average cuts, but the listener moves on quickly to hear another form of Ras Kass.
Though the means of getting his album havs changed, the Waterproof Emcee’s abilities have not. The album has some very visible flaws, but it’s easy to understand each of them. Although the context of the album may be tarnished ever so slightly, the same fans that made this album happen are treated with bonus music. With that said, Ras Kass has officially rejoined the working class of Hip Hop.