(Originally posted to Side Dishes)
There’s many layers of face-melting madness involved in this project. Let us count the ways:
1) Unreleased Juice Crew tracks from the vaults of Marley Marl? Say what? How have these not seen the light in 20 years?
2) And not just any unreleased tracks. We’re talking about legitimately smokin’ hot tracks, especially the two Kool G Rap songs on here, not to mention a Big Daddy Kane exclusive, a song from Tragedy, back in his pre-pubescent Super Kids days, and another great cut from the wildly underrated Craig G.
3) Despite what you would expect to be incredible demand for these songs, the EP was pressed up at 350 units. Never to be repressed. Whoa.
4) And did we mention it will cost $80? And is vinyl only?
Give DWG (Diggers With Gratitude) credit – like Kane, ain’t no half steppin’ here. They designed a product that would blow minds on several levels. I suspect many hip-hop fans will go from, “holy sh–, unreleased Juice Crew joints” to “but wait…$80?” and get stuck somewhere in between.
Full disclosure: I plunked down the $80. I wasn’t the happiest dude doing it but I have zero regrets (especially after hearing the full songs). This thing sold out before it was even really publicized so clearly, the price point didn’t hurt the EP one bit. Folks may grumble at the exclusivity (though you can bet this will get ripped and put online within days) of it but limited edition items have been a part of hip-hop (and pop music) history for ages. I do feel bad for genuine fans who simply don’t have the ends to spend on a project like this though. Maybe Marley will drop these on CD in the future, who knows? (Here’s another well-reasoned defense).
But enough with the politics – peep the music.
“I Declare War” is classic Kool G Rap, by which I mean he’s still just slicing up MCs lyrically vs. coming with the gangsta/murder raps his later career was known for. It can easy to forget that even though Kane was supposed to be Cold Chillin’s most dexterous MC, G Rap was a close-second, flow-wise. This song ranks amongst some of the best I’ve ever heard from him in terms of presence and lyrical wit. Sick track too – rough and rugged like so many of Marley Marl’s late ’80s fare.
I also had to roll with the Craig G song here – how could I possibly pass up a song featuring one of my favorite in the Crew, rapping over a track sampling the Jackson Sisters’ “I Believe In Miracles” with a little “Blow Your Head” mixed in? Ridiculous.