First off: I love this record.
I picked this up a few months after it came out, and bumped the shit out of it all summer. The beats are catchy as all get out, and Del is a man on a mission here. He's constantly cutting in and out, adding backing tracks all over the place, and he never lets up. It might be a tad too long, but that's about all I've been able to find wrong with this one.
After "Time Is Too Expensive," "If You Must" kicks in and it's on. I was convinced this track was going to be solid summer hit, but no such luck. Apparently the world's not ready to rock a track about people who stink. Their loss. "Jaw Gymnastics" is exactly what it sounds like: straight rapping. I'm not a huge Casual fan, but he teams up with Del on this one and rips it. El-P provides another sweet guest spot, showing up on the dark and strangely awesome "Offspring."
Like Del himself, I don't have any trouble understanding why this LP didn't turn out to be the commercial hit I thought it deserved to be. The middle third of this record gets dense, and it can be a lot to handle. I'm not trying to sound like an elitist when I say that; there really are some trying parts. Some of the songs remain fairly light, and as a result, they're usually fun. "Style Wars" and "Fake as Fuck" are a good time. But, it's not all playful: "BM's" and "Skull & Crossbones" both get into Del's battles with alcohol, and "Soopa Feen" tells the story of a half-dead crack smoker.
The best part of the record ends up being the last third. "Signature Slogans" is a dope cut, and "Catch All This" is the best song on the entire record. Fast, relentless; right up my alley. By the time Del teams up with Khaos Unique for "Proto Culture," a love song about video games, it's tough to deny the lyrical prowess that Del has put on display. He wraps it up with the solid "Stay On Your Toes," with a little help from A-Plus of Souls of Mischief. Nice one to end on. Smooth.
No skits, no filler, just a dude grabbing the mic and getting abstract over some fantastic beats. A classic in my book.
"If You Must"