Search - Def Squad :: El Nino (Clean)

El Nino (Clean)
Def Squad
El Nino (Clean)
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

In the late 1990s so many rappers are appearing on each other's records that it becomes easy to forget just whose album it is. On El Niņo, Keith Murray, Erick Sermon, and Redman--all lethal MCs--took the next logical step ...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Def Squad
Title: El Nino (Clean)
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Def Jam
Original Release Date: 6/30/1998
Release Date: 6/30/1998
Album Type: Clean
Genres: Pop, Rap & Hip-Hop
Styles: East Coast, Gangsta & Hardcore, Pop Rap
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
Other Editions: El Nino, El Nino
UPCs: 731455832624, 731455832648

In the late 1990s so many rappers are appearing on each other's records that it becomes easy to forget just whose album it is. On El Niño, Keith Murray, Erick Sermon, and Redman--all lethal MCs--took the next logical step and joined forces. The result? Chemistry class is in session. What cannot be understated is how reenergized the trio sound together. They appear invigorated with a sense of focus and duty: "Full Cooperation" is pure park-after-dark rhyming; "The Game" is the trio at its freshest, freely trading four bars each over classic cuts, breaks, and beats; and then there's "Ride wit Us," with one of the most surreal exchanges on the album, when guest rapper Too Short passes the mic to Murray over a Sermon beat. Juice Crew veteran Biz Markie also adds some old-school spice to a cover of "Rhymin' with Biz" that pairs the original hook with James Brown's "Payback" guitar. --Todd Inoue

CD Reviews

Classic, amazing album. Don't agree? Then y'all ain't ready
SmokaJ | TORONTO | 03/05/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This album is not one of my favorites...but I truly love it to death, for a number of reasons:I have been following the careers of "The Funk-Lord / MC Grand Royal / Green-Eyed Bandit" Erick Sermon, "The Philles Blunt King" Keith Murray & "Funk Doctor Spot" Redman under a microscope from day one. Each brings a unique style & attitude to the mic, but there is and will never be, another trio as great as this one. With E-Double producing the entire album (execpt "You Do, I Do" by Red), the entire LP is bursting at the seams with funky-ass beats.Erick Sermon, as we all know (or at least all should know), started his hip-hop tenure paired w/ Parrish Smith (PMD) in the classic & hugely influential duo, EPMD. Everyone knows that Sermon had all the talent, as it was evident in his production and superior rhymes w/ his classic lisp. As soon as the duo temporarily broke apart in 1992, Sermon simply blew up but didn't go pop. He took understudies, Redman & Keith Murray and turned them each into Hip-Hop icons, via practically producing and guiding both of their entire careers. He also released two solo albums, "No Pressure" in 1993 & "Double or Nothing" in 1995, both are amazing.The first time the world heard Redman on the mic was on EPMD's 1992 LP, "Business as Usual" on the tracks, "Headbanger" & "Brothers on my Jock." Soon after, Redman released his debut album "Whut? Thee Album," later that year (entirely produced by E-Dub) and it went gold. Ever since then, Redman has become a huge staple in east-coast hip-hop. Sermon and Redman were good buddies and Sermon (I'm guessing) just figured that Red could rap over his beats, and it'd be ill. I have a feeling (not officialy confirmed) that Sermon's growing friendship with Redman & Murray played a part in EPMD's break-up.Keith Murray is a completely different story, sort of. He was brought to Sermon's legendary basement one night by fellow "Hit Squad" member, K-Solo. Murray was homeless and broke, but he could rap like nobody had ever heard, (it's true I read this in an interview w/ Murray). The hip-hop world was first introduced to Keith Murray on Sermon's first solo album, "No Pressure" in 1993 on the tracks "Hostile" & "Swing it Over Here." The latter is to my expert knowledge, the first track the trio ever collaborated on, and it's dope. The next year in 1994, Murray released his debut LP "The Most Beautifullest Thing in This World," produced entirely by Sermon, and everybody loved it. Dating from 1993, up to "El Nino" in 1998, each member of Def Squad had released at least 2 albums apiece. The beauty of it is, each solo album had at least one track that featured all three members. This is why I love this album so much...for years I had been getting tastes of what Sermon, Redman & Murray sound like when they all surround a mic, and I could never get enough. This album is a full 16 tracks (minus interludes and intros) of all three members. It's truly a beautiful thing that serious hip-hop heads had been waiting for, for years.Now, don't expect much from this album by means of insight, emotion or even tracks that make you think. That's not their style. What these three heavyweights represent is pure funky, sh*t-talking hip-hop. It's all in good fun. They rhyme to entertain - not change lives. What's funny about Def Squad, is that not one of the tracks on the album have anything that seperates one from another. They all just rhyme about how dope they are, but the beats change from track to track and it couldn't sound better. My friends and I always joke that this album is like one big track. It's perfect, if that's what you're in the mood for.Bottom Line: Those of us who know, know that this album was a long time coming. In an odd way, it's history in the making. The beats are incredible and the rhymes suit them perfectly. This is the perfect definition of a fun album. Any fan of Erick Sermon, EPMD, Redman, or Keith Murray will love this. 5 funky stars. Peace."
It Gets Your Full Cooperation, But Not All Your Total Attent
Chandler | Atlanta (College Park), Georgia | 08/25/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"If you've been following Keith Murray, Redman, and Erick Sermon since they've made their first collab together on "Swing It Over Here" from No Pressure, you knew this album was eventually comming. These three guys have made many dope songs together such as "Open Fire", "Cosmic Slop", "Yeah", just to name a few so far. Those songs alone can tell you the chemestry that they have together as a group. Keith had those mind blowing lyrics, Red had his humor, and E Double had those phat beats that you would bang your head to. So their long anticipated album comes in early '98, is sort of like a mixed bag, more leaned towards the better.

The problem is that this album isn't as lyrically great as each member's solo album (less weighed on Erick, he wasn't that great behind the mic since EPMD). Some of the hooks are just weak and uninspired, such as "You Do, I Do" with the likes of "You drinkin, I'm drinkin'/ you smokin', I'm smokin'/ you freakin', I'm freakin'/ you f***in', I'm f***in...". The WDEF radio skits, were almost milked dry from Redman's previous album, so expect a good amount of those all over this album.

Now that the negative is out of the way, there is great positive. First of all, the production here is great. It sort of reminds me of Keith Murray's second album Enigma, so expect somewhat similar beats from that album. Most of the songs are executed well, such as the hit single "Full Cooperation". Another great standout for me would be "Rhymin' Wit' Biz" as the song is an updated Big Daddy Kane song. But Redman comes correct on that track with some dope rhymes. "Say Word!" is great as well, as well as the beat to the song. The album finishes off with the classic "Def Squad Delite", with is a remake of "Rappers Delight". Other tracks to check for are "Check 'n' Me Out", "The Game (Freestyle)". The rest of the tracks unmentioned are hit or miss, or fail to standout, such as "Yall ****** Ain't Ready" with sounds like a b-side to a Ruff Ryders album (hell, even Erick Sermon sounds like he jocks Swizz Beatz style of production here).

Expect El Nino to be an overall dope album. From the looks of everything going on at the time, this album sounds like a side project for all three members since they were doing their own things at the time (Erick just finished with a comeback EPMD album, and Red and Keith both had albums comming out later that year), so it seemed like they were more focused on those rather than this one here. It's not a bad album, as some of the songs here shows you what it could have been if this was their main focus. Any Def Squad fan should have this in their collection, but if you're on the fence, start with each member's solo album before checking for this one here. Peace.

Lyrics: B-
Production: B+
Guest Appearances: B
Musical Vibes: B

Top 5 Tracks:
1. Def Squad Delite
2. Rhymin' Wit' Biz
3. Full Cooperation
4. Say Word!
5. Check 'n' Me Out

Honorable Mention:
1. Ride Wit' Us (featuring Too Short)
2. The Game (freestyle)"
Mucho filler
Chandler | 01/05/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Basically this album was bound to be dope regardless, but I give it 3 stars because they easily could have made it a lot better. The WDEF skits are not that funny and they're downright pointless when they interrupt the fade out of one of E-Dub's fly beats, which happens at least twice (no excuses, fellas). As far as mic skills are concerned, the talent is present no doubt, although Keith Murray is clearly the number 3 man on the roster. The guest appearances don't really add that much, either. The Biz Markie appearance is frivolous, and Lil Jamal is hardly a ghetto Shakespeare... Of course Redman doesn't dissapoint, dropping his trademark side-splitting, weed-induced allusions while maintaining the tightest flow in the game. There are really two tracks on this album that justify the price--"Check N Me Out" and "You Do I Do." That makes for a hell of a lot of filler. You decide. Is it worth [the money] to hear Redman drop a reference to Zsa Zsa Gabor over a phat E-Dub beat? Maybe, just maybe, it is."