Mikey D & The LA Posse – Better Late Than Never

Mikey D & The LA Posse Artist: Mikey D & The LA Posse
Album: Better Late Than Never
Label: Mic Sick Recordings
Rating: 3.5/5


On
the A-side is the one who’s gone unnoticed for so long, you probably
didn’t even know he was there. This underground battle rapper has
taken on Hip-Hop legends like Melli Mel. He’s worked with artists
from Dr. Rhythm and Dr. Shock to Dougie Fresh; he was the one who bestowed
the name LL Cool J on a young MC coming up in the game and worked with
Mr. Beat-box himself, Rahzel, before you ever heard of his skills. Up
till now the hip-hop community-at-large has probably never heard of
Mikey D, yet, the self-proclaimed “Little Richie of Hip Hop” isn’t
letting the fame and fortunes of his comrades diminish his passion for
the art of hip-hop.

On
the B-side is the white ghost; you’ve heard about him, you’ve heard
his sound, but you never see him. There have been a lot of interesting
cats who have changed the game, yet none more visionary than producer
Paul C. He perfected techniques like the “chop” and “pan,”
he produced rappers so old-school that their records are probably collecting
dust in your closet. He was the Apostle of Hip-Hop, helping to develop
the essence of the sound during an era when rap music was just beginning
to make its rise from the streets. Everyone knows a guy like Paul, he
was that cool white guy who knew records and made dope beats. And remember
that old Sesame Street by Cookie Monster for the alphabet, well Paul’s
C stood for catalyst, classics, and conjectures about his murder. .
. . .

Forget
Three Six Mafia, Mikey D and Paul C are the original known unknowns.

With
his release, Better Late Than Never, Mikey D and the LA Posse
are bringing back the true spirit of hip-hop. Mikey D held
out on us for almost twenty years before he released these tracks, recorded
mostly in the late 1980’s. Produced in its entirety by the late Paul
C, Better Late Than Never is strictly for the true Hip-Hop lover,
this is what street credibility is all about. This body of work represents
the foundation, the true test of a MC’s content; it also represents
the last works of one of Hip-Hop’s most under-rated producers. If
hip-hop legends were measured by their longevity and the ability to
remain faithful to their craft, then Mikey D and the LA Posse are icons,
because even after all these years, this album is still note-worthy.

The
first track of this album captures the essence of the BLTN. “Take
No Shorts,” is spit over a classic Paul C beat; Mikey D takes lyrical
liberties challenging any MC who wants to battle to meet him on the
Merrick. On songs like “Telephone,” Mikey D brings back the fun
of story-telling raps; these are clean and simple tracks, nothing more
than a beat and a verse with more attention paid to actual rhyming skills
than to the unspoken challenge to be as cleverly disrespectful as the
censors will allow. The story of “Dawn” features the beat-boxing
skills of an unknown Rahzel and is refreshingly old school, not characterized
by over-dubbing or extra background female vocals, no gang-banging,
or overtly sexual references (and a great moral to the story, by the
way). Even “The Executioner” is not as violent as the title may
depict, as Mikey D quips, “That’s why they named the mic after Mikey
D. Cause I’m a true rhyme-bolo, who needs a group, or troop, I go
solo. This is my mic, it
my stage and my house, you don’t like it? Security, kick that brother
out. I ain’t having it, jump, this is my jam. Ask your mother
who the hell I am.” My favorite track had to be “Comin in the House”,
I’m not even going to lie; the innuendo is classic without
the chauvinism and male boasting that is the standard for hip-hop artists
today. The entire album is a look into the past at the remnants of what
rap music used to be.

There
are a few lulls on this album, however, for example, “Beethoven Scratch,”
which is basically an instrumental track, but still enjoyable (and feels
more like an extended tribute to Paul C as the album’s last track).
The record scratching gets a little old at times and I personally think
that this album would have benefited from another mixing session, but
Mikey D seems intent on keeping this album in its historical context.

Having
been born at the cusp of the transition between old school hip-hop and
the birth of gangsta rap, I probably cannot tell you the historical
context for all of these lyrics (for example “Bust A Rhyme,” which
is clearly the title song that is predecessor to the rapper’s name),
yet the beauty of this album is that its appreciation is indeed found
in its historical context. Better Late Than Never is Mikey D’s
late 80’s premonition for the hip-hop future and, well, he was right. . . .Pull any kid off Nostrand
Ave today and have them recite “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G., but
then ask ‘em who is Mr. Magic? Marley Marl? Or Kid Capri? I give Mikey
D props for finally giving this one to us because these kids today don’t
know nothing about real Hip-Hop.

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