Semi Official is a creation of the multi-dimensional Rhymesayers duo DJ Abilities and I Self Divine. The album is a culmination of past hip hop experience bringing back roots production with lyrical styles in certain places of all generations. The duo shares production duties with I Self being the creative side and Abilities being of technical background.
After an introduction the duo seemingly officially begins “The Anti-Album” with the solid track “Grey”, which is followed by a very good collaboration with underground workhorse MF Doom on “Songs In The Key Of Tryfe”. The cuts and scratches are apparent early and often on the album so fans of turntablism and dj-ing talent will be very pleased.
The next section of the album slows things down a little bit with “Styfle Progression”, “Transitions” which has a very old school sound to it, before picking up again with the funky “Hit The Deck”. At this point however the scratches are becoming more prevalent in hooks and throughout songs, which for any DJ Premier fan makes his talent for the hook and scratching that much more incredible. Most of the time the cuts give a nice twist to the track but in certain, and too many points they deter from the track. All is soon forgotten as the terrific subtle drums of “Police Assassination Anthem” sink into the brain of the listener. The first single “Crime” follows this and it proves to be disappointing within its surroundings as it fails to inspire or overshadow better songs which appear earlier on the album.
Towards the end of the album only “Stand On Ya Square” and “Hurt Ya Feelings” stand out as stellar produced tracks with the others being either average or just above average compared to the high caliber of production that was heard earlier in the record.
While there are ups and downs through “The Anti-Album” the highs seem to outnumber the lows early and often enough to set a good tone and atmosphere for the rest of the Rhymesayers release. Semi-Official’s debut is not “Seven’s Travels” or “Shadows On The Sun” but it will stand on its own as another solid release on the catalog.