Search - Artifacts :: Between a Rock & A Hard Place

Between a Rock & A Hard Place
Between a Rock & A Hard Place
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop, R&B
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #1

As former graf artists, MCs Tame One and El Da Sensei gained fans among writers worldwide with their ode to spray-can art on "Wrong Side of the Tracks." Post new-school artists with an old school bent, the Artifacts smartl...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Artifacts
Title: Between a Rock & A Hard Place
Members Wishing: 2
Total Copies: 0
Label: Big Beat / Wea
Original Release Date: 1/1/1994
Re-Release Date: 10/25/1994
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop, R&B
Styles: Dance Pop, East Coast, Pop Rap, Soul
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 075679239723, 075679239747

As former graf artists, MCs Tame One and El Da Sensei gained fans among writers worldwide with their ode to spray-can art on "Wrong Side of the Tracks." Post new-school artists with an old school bent, the Artifacts smartly meshed their own frenetic rhyme pacing with heavy, blunted beats (courtesy T-Ray, Buckwild, and others). While Between a Rock and a Hard Place fell short as a certified classic (its lack of variety limited its strengths), it still had its share of great underground anthems--from "C'mon wit da Git Down," "Lower da Boom," and "Dynamite Soul." --Oliver Wang

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CD Reviews

JiggaJ1979 | Thomasville NC | 11/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"East Coast Does it again!!! This is a underground Classic Pure Great Lyrics over a lot of Nitetime Beats Pure sound, you have to get this if you love underground!!!!"
"The first and last showin' of graffiti rock..."
ctrx | 'bout to show you how the EAST COAST rocks... | 05/12/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Artifacts' 1994 debut introduced a hip hop duo to the rap world that fought against the grain of the quickly commercializing rap game. El da Sensei and Tame One are two New Jersey natives and former graffiti artists, and they celebrate the original spirit of hip hop. Their tracks are all impeccably produced, dense with instrumentation and rich horns, but the beats and bass stay hard and thumping; no one would ever mistake this for a pop record and they're proud of it. The producers include Redman and two very underrated east coast beatcrafts, T-Ray and Shawn J Period. As rappers, they stay true to themselves and their genre too. They deliver clever battle rhymes and braggadocio, telling some stories and always representing their home state. This album showcases some of the nicest production and rhyming of 1994, Artifacts was a unique hip hop product and is really underrated. I feel that they were often overlooked because at this time they might have been overshadowed by some other fairly similar artists, but any fan of the early-90s east coast sound will love "Between a Rock and a Hard Place."

After the short instrumental intro, the album begins with "C'Mon Wit da Git Down," which might be my favorite song on the album. The loopy bassline and scattered horn blasts create a funky and laidback vibe, I love the hook and the lyrics are clever. The similarly great "Wrong Side of da Tracks" is probably their best known song. Over catchy sax-heavy production, El and Tame One rap about their lives as graffiti artists. "Heavy Ammunition" is appealing boom bap, with more horns and a well-sampled hook. "Attack of New Jeruzalem" is an NJ anthem, upbeat and funky with heavy horn instrumentation, the rhymes are dope and it's a nice track. "Notty Headed N." is solid but not the most memorable track because it's similar to a lot of "Between a Rock and a Hard Place," although the verses are very good. I really like "Whayback," a shout out to hip hop's founding fathers that is very interesting musically. "Flexi With da Tech(nique)" is slow and bass heavy, with typically great raps from Tame One and El da Sensei. Redman produced the nice "Cummin' Thru Ya F...' Block," which has a funk groove that wouldn't sound out of place on a Def Squad production. "Lower da Boom" is a likable weed ode. The breezy "What Goes On?" is a highlight, nice vibes and slick rhymes. I really like the heavy bass and pumping horns in "Dynamite Soul," a feel good song. Another Redman production, "Whassup Now Muthaf...?," follows. The album closes with a very nice remix to "C'Mon Wit da Git Down," including an excellent guest appearance from Busta Rhymes.

Artifacts would go on to deliver one more album, 1997's That's Them, before breaking up and drifting into solo careers. Even if you didn't catch the Artifacts wave the first time around, this album is really one worth adding to the collection for east coast fans. It's got the kind of beats to play loud from the car and the kind of lyrics to make you smile while just chilling. I highly recommend "Between a Rock and a Hard Place.""
Jerry Parsons | BALTIMORE | 01/03/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Well another solid hip hop album from start to end. Here is another one where it is hard as hell to pick something that I dont like on here. I have to say this is one album that I can still play today in 2007 and it sounds good. These two rappers from New Jersey sound good as they go back and forth. It is sad that they broke up and only had 2 albums out. They are doing there thing on the Independant scene and makeing good stuff. I am biased and have to say that I like El Da Sensei more than Tame One but dont get it wrong Tame One is still nice. This is 2 guys that I would like to see get back toghether and make another album for the sake of real hip hop fans."