Vet MC Neek The Exotic and seasoned producer Large Professor--who was crafting beats for Eric B. & Rakim in high school and went on to collaborate with the likes of Nas, DJ Premier, and Mobb Deep--first worked together on "Fakin' the Funk" from the soundtrack for the 1992 Wesley Snipes/Woody Harrelson flick White Men Can't Jump. Now, 20 years down the road, the duo reunited for the fittingly titled Still on the Hustle, out today on Fat Beats Records. The word "classic" gets thrown around too often, but this 11-track album has all the trappings--or at least the stylings.
The project's title track, leaked as an advance single, stands as a good representation of a record that rides highest on Large Pro's sample-heavy, scratch-dotted production. Neek's chorus is spit offhandedly enough--"Ain't much changed"--it's believable that after all these years the two are still just trying to stay up and make a little cash in the process. Why skirt around nostalgia when you can embrace it?
The sounds are updated from "Fakin' the Funk," but more matured than truly different--and though Large Pro doesn't handle every song, the outsourced beats come from like-minded beatsmiths Lord Finesse, Marco Polo, and Carnage. For all the heads who can't stop echoing "But hip-hop was so much better back then," this is the new record to scoop up.