Perhaps it’s the overhanging tragic mood of these past weeks that makes gangster rap that much more tasteless. Maybe it’s the endless stream of misogyny, abusive language and self-congratulation that often makes products of the genre old so quickly.
Da Beatminerz’ debut album, “Brace 4 Impak,” is less than catchy at first listen. However, a little patience reveals gem-like moments of listening pleasure spread throughout an inconsistent work.
“Brace 4 Impak” features a long list of collaborators and special guests. The New York production team, led by DJ Evil Dee and Mr. Walt, has assembled a collection of tracks with contributions from Busta Rhymes and the Flipmode Squad, Talib Kweli, Naughty by Nature and former “Real World” season one house member Heather B.
While their distinctive “boom bap” percussive style sets them apart, it also produces a less than inspiring monotone on most tracks. The only exceptions to this trend occur when the bass-dependent sound is abandoned in favor of distorted treble effects. And the only recognizable samples are vocal renditions in “Best at That” of Jurassic Five’s “da-das” from “Tha Influence” and hints of Black Eyed Peas on “Extreme Situation.”
The sarcasm of “Bentleys and Bitches” entertains, but the obnoxious dialogue filler tracks like “Drama,” in which Evil Dee yells at a doorwoman who won’t let him into a club, spur the ever-infuriating process of getting up and pressing the track advance button. Gratuitous use of the n- and f-words make for successful gangster rap, but since Da Beatminerz generally lean more towards independent hip-hop, the profane episodes feel harsh.
High points include “Open,” which relies entirely on Caron Wheeler’s vocal guest appearance, and “Hustler’s Theme,” a ghetto-fabulous adaptation of the American Dream and a kickin’ party tune. But these tracks cannot redeem the album as a whole, which amounts to a project that simply leaves something to be desired.