Put It in the Air

Brooklyn hardcore vets take hip-hop all the way to cock-rock

Finesse isn't M.O.P.'s strong suit, but what the Brooklyn duo lack in subtlety, they make up in volume. Since 1993, rappers Billy Danze and Lil' Fame have been splitting eardrums with blaring anthems like "How About Some Hardcore" and "Ante Up." They've never met a chorus they didn't like screaming over. Long before rock-rap hybrids like Korn and Linkin Park were filling arenas, M.O.P. had cock-rock hip-hop on lock.

Not surprisingly, their previous albums sampled heavily from rock sources—on 2000's Warriorz, their "Cold as Ice" managed to make Foreigner sound rugged—but for Mash Out Posse, Fame and Danze dispense with the digital middleman and get their jam on directly. Collaborating with rap-reggae rockers Shiner Massive, they draft a handful of new songs and revisit their catalog, giving hits like "Stand Clear" and "Calm Down" metal makeovers.

Danze and Fame's gun-clap flow busts off in short, controlled bursts—"We have the constitutional right/to bear arms/and flare arms/whenever we fear harm"—and Shiner Massive joins the firing line when Larry Devore's distorted guitar rips stick in that staccato rhythm. Songs like "Stand Up" and "Raise Hell" roll hard on rough riffs and drum smashes, but occasionally the collab falls victim to rock excess. "Put It in the Air," for example, drowns the vocals in overwrought, operatic overtones.

If the Beastie Boys were the first to mainstream a rock-rap sound, M.O.P. turn the tables by covering the Licensed to Ill–era "No Sleep Till Brooklyn" (called "Hilltop Flavor" here). M.O.P.'s borough homage commemorates an 18-year circle that links Rick Rubin's early rock-rap experimentations with M.O.P.'s latest. Hearing Danze and Fame holler out "No!/Sleep!/Till Brooklyn!" revives old-school memories when punk and rap grew up together on New York concrete. But beyond nostalgia, Mash Out Posse is a reminder that, at their core, rock and hip-hop feed off the same third rail. They plug in, crank up, and kick out the motherfucking jams.

 
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