June 29, 2016

Lootpack "Soundpieces: Da Antidote!" (Spin, 9/99)

"A Tribe Called Quest once defined marauding as "looting for ears," and MCs rap about "loot" more often than they put it where their mouths are. Lootpack put the mic where their mouths are (II), intent on "stealing the minds of those caught up in this wack industry." Good luck. MCs Wildchild, Madlib, and DJ Romes signify from a crinkle in the California map called Oxnard - home to Beat Junkie DJ Babu. While Lootpack debuted on Tha Alkaholiks' 21 & Over, it was "WLIX," from the Liks' potent Coast II Coast album, that left folks katzenjammerin'. In 1999, the 'Pack appeared on Peanut Butter Wolf's "Styles Crews Flows Beats," and that's what you get on Soundpieces: Da Antidote! Madlib, who rivals Bumpy Knuckles for the name you'll love to drop, is another MC/Producer whose crates are often deeper than his battle blurts. But witty tracks enhance the verbs. On "Long Awaited" (with the West Coast's heralded Dilated Peoples), Wildchild sex, "Negative criticism is mad appreciated." Few paper-think-skinned MCs have the wherewithal to make such an 'umble boast. Criticism may be that Loopack sound Lik-like, too similar to LA's masters of spiked punchlines."

"But "Likwit Fusion" brings identity issues to a head with cameos by Alkaholiks and LA history teacher Defari; everyone holds his own. Keeping in lyrical saunter, Madlib disses by the dozens: "Your mom rhymes better than you / She's deaf mute." Elsewhere, his tracks ebb like a soulful dream: Pete Rockish interludes merrily tease, "HA-HA, If you want a beat like this, I got 'em in stock." "Hit You Wit Dat" references kick drums from Busta Rhymes's "Still Shining," stuttering in cadence while tapping your plate with an accommodating Busta blurb. Mystery guest Quasimoto has a suspicious Wildchild flow, yet his helium voice sounds like Prince at the end of "It Was Your Girlfriend." Though rhymes about rhymes can get repetitive after 24 tracks(!), Madlib's well-dug and cohesive production turns LP jabs into zingers... So put down your loot." - Spin Magazine, September 1999.