Beatnuts
founding
members Psycho Les and Al Tariq, along with Missin’ Linx
member Problemz must enjoy each other’s company. It’s been almost
15 years since Intoxicated Demons was released and almost a decade since
the three have worked under the same banner. Still, they comprise Big
City
and they’re embarking on something of a reunion tour. 

Thing is – is anyone
listening?

The City Never Sleeps (Nature Sounds), is Big City‘s first album together. If
you already like the ‘Nuts, you may be happy with this latest offering.
Then again, it may just make you sad. If you’re not a fan, maybe you should
check out Intoxicated Demons or Street Level first. Don’t
get me wrong; the Beatnuts‘ old swagger is still there. Les
production skills are there, in theory. But it’s clear there’s some old
dust they need to shake off, cause it is basically a shell of their former
sound.

The album has a couple of
redeeming joints, though. “Stickem
Up” is an energetic track featuring an equally strong hook from the
always reliable Greg Nice. In “D.J. Famalam,” Problemz‘ lyrics catch fire in what is one
of the nicest verses I’ve heard in a minute; “Act like you know the
name/Caught a flat on the road to fame/Now back hitting switches/Made a detour
to get some digits/On the road to the riches.”
 One of the album’s
high points, this track is in stark contrast to the next song, “Milf,” which is about…well, you
know. “You know I can’t wife ya/but I really like ya/and I want to pipe
ya”
. (‘Nuff said.)

Big horns and cowbells give “Chedda” a bouncy feel, making it a
fairly decent club track. But there are a few missteps on this
album. On “Boy” and “Running Around,” Les uses two
flute loops that, instead of giving the songs momentum, make them sound
stagnant. “Lick Balls”
features a Houston-influenced, screwed-up beat. (Why they bothered with
this, I have no idea.) 

Junkyard JuJu was an integral part of the
group’s original sound. Sorry, folks, but to leave him off The City
Never Sleeps
should make you wonder what Big City wants to accomplish – other than releasing mediocre Hip Hop
albums. 

Personally, I would have
released The City Never Sleeps EP, cutting the tracklist in half, saving
everyone half of their money – or half of their download time. Part of me
likes this album, don’t get me wrong. Maybe I like the fact that the
original ‘Nuts are still at it, nice to have Les and Fashion
rocking together again.

You may like the album after
giving it a few listens. But after a good dozen or so spins, don’t be
surprised if you find yourself reaching for the “Eject” button.