Hailing from Newark, New Jersey the dynamic duo of El Da Sensei and Tame One released two albums between 1994 and 1997 before creatively heading off on separate musical paths. In the fall of 2002, El finally blessed the masses with his debut solo album, Relax, Relate, Release. Establishing himself as a respected veteran voice, the former graffiti artist has teamed up with Polish duo The Returners for their second release, and first with Coalmine Records, Global Takeover 2: Nu World.
The album opens with a Smooth Jazz feel and then kingly like horns triumphantly announce a beat that stomps in hard. “We R Back” finds El with a confident flow following the guide of the in-your-face snare as he bruises the track with his commanding delivery. Da Sensei conveys an angry bravado not heard since his acclaimed group work, sounding exciting and energetic. El’s revived vocal cadence, lyrics and delivery don’t disappoint.
“Goin To War” featuring Naughty By Nature’s Treach finds a union between a mainstream Hip Hop icon meets an underground legend. The East Orange, Newark connection embodies Jersey love as they both lyrically go to war all over the track. It’s a call to lyrical arms as verbal shrapnel and lyrical bombs are dropped as the beat marches in. First on the frontline is Da Sensei and he’s tactically accurate with his lyrics. It’s a barrage of fighting and war terms used to visually illustrate how he will bury the enemy. Treach follows suit, but he doesn’t fire off with his normal iconic rapid fire delivery. With this verse the multi-syllabalic succinctly and with clarity busts through the door smoothly and takes no prisoners. At the end, the score is finally settled as Da Sensei’s last verse is guaranteed to cause a cease fire and undoubtedly win the war. Hard snares that cause lumps to your head and syncopated skilled almost strategically placed scratching are the modus operandi for the entire GT2: Nu World album.
A la DJ Premier or a classic Bomb Squad-produced track, it’s all about piecing together the hooks by borrowing the best lines and quotes from others to formulate a new. The Returners productions are dramatic with their openings; they are consistently like a an intro to a big screen movie scene or a subtle musical segue right before the director yells action, El Da Sensei like a third act delivers the dramatic prose and intricate dialogue. “2 The Death” is one of those tracks, as El testifies that before Artifacts, during Artifacts and after Artifacts, he has done it his way and that’s how it’s gonna be to the death. The production on “Nu World” leans on the side of inspiring as it bounces then bounds out of the speaker. Despite the war going on outside, it’s a sign of the times that people make the world go round, so get ready for this new world. There might be doom and gloom going on in the world, but in the midst of it all El remains a visionary who envisions hope.
The song “Pain” continues the exemplary cohesiveness between producer and artist as a tale of the gritty realities of a day in the life and how one deals with the pain shines, while, “Blow Up!” is rebellious music at its mentally stimulating best. The lyrics, delivery and track pound you in the face and body slam you through the canvas.
Listening to GT2 for the very first time, it appeared that there might be far too many guest appearances with seven out of the 15 tracks being collaborations. “Right Move (No Mistakes)” featuring Tiye Phoenix, “Knowledge Be The Key” featuring Rakaa Iriscience and “Everyday On The Street” featuring Sean Price and Bekay are three of the strong callabos. “2 The Death” (M-Phazes Remix) featuring Mela Machinko, took creative quality chances, but I think that it could have been tweaked a little bit more in order for the sung vocals to better mesh. But it the end all of the collaborations wound up working perfectly as each artist positively complimented each other. El Da Sensei promised to continue doing things his way until the death and with that positive conviction GT2: Nu World ends up being a positive and triumphant return.