Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Marley Marl - In Control, Volume 1 (LP, 1988)

I have a repressing of this LP, and Cold Chillin' really didn't do this thing much justice: the audio quality is ass. But, the music is diggity dope. If you need a quick lesson in '88-style hip hop or want to know why the Juice Crew was the greatest rap crew to never put out a proper album, it's all right here.

Craig G. is all over this thing, so if you're not a huge fan of him (I'm not), then parts of this record might be a little rough for you, but when some of the other Juice Crew-ers show up, it's on. "We Write the Songs," Biz Markie's duet with Heavy D, is slow, steady, and fun as shit. Masta Ace (here called "Master" Ace) has a few tight tracks, and even M.C. Shan get down the best he can.

The crowning achievement here, of course, is "The Symphony," one of the best posse cuts in the history of hip hop. Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap join Masta Ace and Craig G. and just wreck shit. Which is great, but it also serves to remind us how absent Kane and Kool G are from the rest of this album. It's frustrating, because their two verses easily slay any of the other dudes on this LP.

This record could have been the Juice Crew album that almost was, and instead it's just a tease. The beats are dope, but the raps aren't up to the task. I still love it because it's Marley Marl, but this album could have been SO much better. But, it's Marley Marl in '88, so, you know, it's the real shit. Except for the Roxanne Shanté track that closes it out - that's just garbage.

"The Symphony"

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