This week’s album is DJ Honda’s H II.
The thing about a DJ putting together an album is that they either need to have personality or impressive skills. Flex is obnoxious and Spinna can craft a beat, but both are at least memorable. DJ Honda is kind of bland in both areas.
This album is accordingly bland. It reeks of the late-’90s underground response to the “shiny suit era”. At the time the biggest names on the album were probably De La Soul and KRS-One (though by modern standards Mos Def fits the bill). Most of the songs feature C-listers from the ’90s who never went anywhere (viz. Black Attack, Syndicate), or guys who left popular groups and never amounted to much (viz. Fat Lip, Al Tariq).
This album is pretty much a prime example of what was wrong with NY emcees in the late ’90s; everyone sounded the same both in terms of vocal quality and content. Honestly, with the exception of the aforementioned big names, you’d be hard pressed to distinguish between Rawcotics, Problemz and Black Attack. It’s that sameness that makes the album a chore to which to listen.
There are some highlights. It’s nice to hear both De La Soul and The Beatnuts over beats that differ in texture from that which we’re used to hearing them on. And Mos Def’s “Traveling Man” reminds you of when he was still focused on being an emcee.
But those highlights are few and far between. Most of this album just isn’t worth listening to.