Filed under: Album Reviews
Booze and work colleagues makes for a potentially dangerous situation. Apologies for lack of post yesterday, I was trying not to embarrass myself at my Christmas do which I am not sure whether I achieved or not. At least the holidays last for two weeks (one of the true perks of teaching) so hopefully it will be a distant memory for all when we return in January. Fingers crossed.
I first came across the Cella Dwellas on Loud’s ‘Bring Da Ruckus’ compilation which featured a bunch of tracks from the label’s back catalogue. ‘Advance To Boardwalk’ took the Monopoly board as its theoretical framework, cleverly weaving references to the game into street narratives. On top of this, the beat was on point, keeping your head nodding throughout its three and a half minute duration. I love the way that the drums drop out after the final chorus, only to return wth a big snare hit after a four bar rest: pure and unadulterated NYC hip hop. Inexplicably, I didn’t follow this up by getting a hold of their other work and only recently acquired it. I’m glad that I did.
‘Realms ‘N Reality’ is not a dazzling album but it is consistent throughout sixteen tracks and has a number of standout cuts. The group’s first single ‘Land Of The Lost’ is included as a bonus track here as well as the single ‘Perfect Match’ which is a guilty pleasure for me; the R ‘n’ B chorus refrain is cheesy as extra mature farmhouse cheddar but I still love it. ‘Good Dwellas’ is also bangin’, detailing the Cella Dwellas rise to fame whilst facing all the trials and tribulations of the ghetto in the process. In all truth there isn’t really a bad cut on here, but then there is something slightly lacking about the album as a whole. Although similar in sound to the early Boot Camp albums it lacks the weight of these releases and just doesn’t grab the listener in the same way.
In my Buckwild post I noted that although hip hop of this era is esentially formulaic there is a ‘je ne sais quoi’ that separates truly great works from those that are just good. I don’t mean to sound derogatory about ‘Realms ‘N Reality’ as it is a solid effort with some very enjoyable tunes, but it would be an over-exaggeration to claim that this is classic material. Still, this is well worthy of a place in your collection and will have you happily nodding your head for an hour without having to skip tracks as you do so: you can’t front on that.