Mash Out Posse


usic appreciation isn’t a science, and thus there’s no guarantee that “music that is good” will be equitable to “music that one would like”. After studying Mash Out Posse, in which MOP team up with Shiner Massive to rework their back catalogue as grinding metal numbers for a week, via repeat play, as individual tracks, and through both earphones and speakers with the volume loud enough to induce arthritis (it is a metal album, after all), the conclusion that you can come to is that whilst it isn’t “music that is good”, it certainly is “music that one would like”.

You’ll like it for two reasons.
1) Billy Danze and Lil Fame (or Fizzy Womack and William Burkowitz, if you insist) are intrinsically likeable rappers. Like all of the best over-the-top hip-hop personalities, they have their own characterised gimmicks—the shouts of “fiyaaaaaahhhhh”, the various onomatopoeic takes on what sounds a gunshot makes and the fact that they do both a metal album and license their music for use on a toothpaste advert. If you buy into that image, and considering the heat they’ve delivered prior, you’d be a fool not to, then the idea of them doing their thing over drop D’d guitars and garage-Sabbath rips probably sounds like a good idea.

It is.

2) People greatly prefer rappers rocking to rockers rapping. As nu-metal fades into the distance with little to leave to history, those Southern cats are boasting about the mosh-pits you’d find at their shows and giving out shout-outs to Dead Kennedys. Simply, when most people are praising Rubin they’re talking about his work with Run DMC rather than RHCP. We like our rappers to throw up the bull-horns every now and then. Everyone prefers License to Ill to Hello Nasty, after all.
So whilst Mash Out Posse is neither technically stunning, nor even that original, it works. It works because MOP’s beats, like the guys themselves, have never been the lightest or subtlest in the world, so giving their lyrics reign over a Kerrang-friendly crunch doesn’t detract from their power at all. “Calm Down” vibrates as it always would, except here, with the guitars, you just get that rock… feel. The choruses are just that little bit more sharp in the rock world.

“Hilltop Flava” gives us a First Fam take on “No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn” and when “Robbin’ Hoodz” (the twin brother of “Ante Up”, and the best piece of Robin/robbing punning in rap since the days of Hijack) turns up, you have what has always been an “in case of emergency, break glass” tune for hip-hop clubs translating into the same for those of a more rock bent.

Indeed, whilst we sit around counting the days until Roc-A-Fella finally release the MOP album proper; this is a good reminder as to what the Warriorz are all about: loud, dumb, hands in their air music. It’s down to the ROC to make sure they keep producing more of the same.

Reviewed by: Dom Passantino

Reviewed on: 2004-08-13

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