Critical Beatdown [Bonus Tracks]

Critical Beatdown [Bonus Tracks]

by Ultramagnetic MC's

CD

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Overview

Besides being an undeniable hip-hop classic, the first album by the cult crew Ultramagnetic MC's introduced to the world the larger-than-life, one-of-a-kind personality of Kool Keith. That alone would make this some sort of landmark recording, but it also happens to be one of the finest rap albums from the mid- to late-'80s "new school" in hip-hop that numbered among its contributors Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, and Boogie Down Productions. Critical Beatdown easily stands with the classic recordings made by those giants, and it is, in some ways, more intriguing because of how short-lived Ultramagnetic turned out to be. It would be wrong to assume that the finest thing about the album is its lyrical invention. Lyrically the group is inspired, to be sure, but the production is equally forward-looking. Critical Beatdown is full of the sort of gritty cuts that would define hip-hop's underground scene, with almost every song sounding like an instant classic. Although he turns in a brilliant performance, Kool Keith had not yet taken completely off into the stratosphere at this early point. He still has at least one foot planted on the street and gives the album a viscerally real feel and accessibility that his later work sometimes lacks. His viewpoint is still uniquely and oddly individual, though, and he already shows signs of the freakish conceptualizing persona that would eventually surface fully under the guise of Dr. Octagon. If Kool Keith gives the album its progressive mentality and adrenaline rush, Ced-Gee gives it its street-level heft and is, in many ways, the album's core. Somewhere in the nexus between the two stylistic extremes, brilliant music emanated. Critical Beatdown maintains all its sharpness and every ounce of its power, and it has not aged one second since 1988. [A reissue by Next Plateau in 2004 added six excellent bonus tracks -- including the original mix of "Funky" and the non-album "A Chorus Line" -- as well as full liner notes featuring an in-depth conversation with Ced-Gee and Kool Keith.]

Product Details

Release Date: 05/18/2004
Label: Roadrunner Records
UPC: 0016861829728
catalogNumber: 618297

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