Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Dance & Electronic, Rap & Hip-Hop, R&B
Everyone knows about L.A. rap's G-Funk, but there's another, less celebrated side to Angeleno rap that's been harboring some of the country's most talented rappers. Rhymers like Ahmad, the Pharcyde, and the now defunct Fre... more »
Everyone knows about L.A. rap's G-Funk, but there's another, less celebrated side to Angeleno rap that's been harboring some of the country's most talented rappers. Rhymers like Ahmad, the Pharcyde, and the now defunct Freestyle Fellowship--dissenting voices to G-Funk's gangsterized clique--have looked back to the east and taken New York's original old school dynamics and freestyle lyrics to new levels of technical proficiency. From this retrominded school of West Coast doggy dog refuseniks comes the debut World Ultimate from the duo the Nonce. More than any of their South Central cohorts, however, the Nonce get permanently stuck in a New York state of mind. Juggling old school styles with new school production, the pair come closest to A Tribe Called Quest's jazzy hop. And on "World Ultimate," the tight beats are standard Pete Rock while the mic passing harks all the way back to the Treacherous Three. The single "Mix Tapes" is one of the few spots, though, where the Nonce's retro action is inspired rather than unoriginal. A tasty shot of authentic, first-generation rap--with handclaps, scratches, regular cadences, and references to hip-hop culture--the song no doubt pushed the nostalgia buttons of American Records head Rick Rubin, who once produced records like "Mixed Tapes" for Def Jam before he packed up and headed to Burbank. --Roni Sarig
WEST COAST MASTERPIECE
O. KAKA | WOODBRIDGE, NJ United States | 04/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
LYRICS --------- 9/10
PRODUCTION COURTESY OF THE NONCE ---------- 10/10
THEME --------- 10/10
ALBUM COVER ---------- 8/10
CONCEPT ---------- 10/10
STANDOUT TRACKS ---------- ALL TRACKS
OVERALL ----------- PURE HIP HOP NON STOP."
mordecai | Richmond, VA USA | 06/10/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this album. Great jazzy production that isn't too soft. Perfect flows to complement the beats. Very complete and well put-together with highlights including "Mixtapes" (and its remix), "On The Road" and "Bus Stops""
Nothing short of wonderful
ctrx | 'bout to show you how the EAST COAST rocks... | 09/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are maybe twenty or so hip hop albums of the hundreds I own that I would call perfect. The Nonce's 1995 debut "World Ultimate" would never be spoken of as a top 20 album because it wasn't hugely influential or even popular, but listening to this album from start to finish it is absolutely flawless. This album was executed to perfection. The rappers Nouka Base and Yusef Afloat are West Coast MCs with what one might call an East Coast mentality. Their product comes off most comparable to a Tribe Called Quest record, but not lyrically. They're plenty distinctive, but I say that mostly because the production recalls a more laidback and polished Tribe production and Yusef sounds pretty similar to Q-Tip vocally. They celebrate the original spirit of hip hop, and they're incredibly artistic in their trade. Both of them fit the definition of a dope MC. They have dope flows, dope vernaculars, write dope rhymes, and deliver dope hooks. The beats are really something else on "World Ultimate." The feeling is very jazzy, and each beat has a kind of laidback background vibe line that makes them perfect. Horns, saxes, flutes, and keyboards are plentiful, and the beats are really clever and catchy, you could get lost in this type of production. The LP is a perfect length at thirteen tracks, you can just let it flow. Heck, even the cover is dope. "World Ultimate" is a flawless hip hop album full of absolutely gorgeous hip hop: a must have!
The album opens with the gorgeous "On the Air," which has some nice vibes and a hook anchored by a perfect breezy sax loop. Nouka and Yusef's rhymes on this song sound therapeutic, their flows and execution are flawless. The lighter, more upbeat but equally polished "Keep It On" celebrates the joyful spirit of hip hop and B-Boys, a great song. The single "Bus Stops" is a true highlight, a laidback weekend song about relaxing and kickin' it to the ladies. Again the production and rappers' performance shine. The collaboration "West Is..." is a shout-out to their beloved coast, shaking the perception of it being solely a home to gangsta rap. Another highlight is "Mix Tapes," where the duo recalls their introduction to the hip hop world and their early days. After the dope "Testing" instrumental interlude, the great title track arrives with a wonderful, upbeat jazzy and relaxed beat and fun verses. The chorus to "Good to Go" is based on a classic EPMD line from Strictly Business, and it's another song I really like that fulfills their potential and displays flawless execution. I also love "On the Road Again," a particularly soulful and toney number that vibes really well, and it's followed by a similarly nice track "Hoods Like to Play." "J to the I" is perfect, with some of the best lines and an airy flute instrumental. The bullhorned B-Boy verses to "Eighty-Five" recall Run-DMC or Grandmaster Flash, over a signature Nonce production. The album closes with a very nice remix of "Mix Tapes."
"World Ultimate" was released during the golden age of hip hop, and while it ranks among the best of its contemporaries is still incredibly slept-on, so much that it's even gone out of print. For any hip hop purist and fan of the artistic sounds of A Tribe Called Quest, Aceyalone, Digable Planets, or Camp Lo, consider this release a must-own. The Nonce could have been an underground force, but tragically Yusef died in 2000 and the Nonce never released another LP, just their final EP recording The Sight of Things in 1998. Their name will live on in obscurity with their one perfect album, and I highly recommend it."