featured REVIEW


Ultimate Force I'm Not Playing Traffic Ent / Strong City • 2007

For always there will be the issue of unreleased albums, that people know about, artists know about, labels know about, but for some reason won’t see the light of day. The same went for Ultimate Force’s debut album that was shelved in 1990 by Strong City. The 12” title track did appear on the Jazzy Jay compilation 'Cold Chillin In The Studio' (also on Strong City), and years later on Rawkus’ 'Egotrip’s The Big Playback' compil, but the recordings for the album remained untouched, mainly because the group, consisting of Diamond D and Master Rob, disbanded after the first landed a solo record deal and the latter turned a dedicated family man.

Fortunately, there’s also the issue of issuing after all. Seventeen years after its supposed release, 'I’m Not Playing' LP is finally granted to the crowd. The 12” gathered attention and appraisal through its extremely funky sampling of Albert King’s 'Cold Feet' –the first marriage between hip-hop and blues- and Master Rob’s sometimes naïve but funny fresh metaphorical braggadocio ('I break yo legs because you’re yellow, just like the yolk up in egg', 'I got more hair on my chest than Chuck Norris' and 'I’m not playing or jokin, not from Hoboken' are legendary lines). The album continues in the same vein, as Diamond D flips loops from heavy funk (of course a lot of James Brown), blues, rock (Black Sabbath drums on 'Im In Effect') to smooth pop songs (in the vibrant, catchy dance-floor filler 'Girls' and the 'Walk On By' trumpets in 'Supreme Diamond D'), programs the drums like he been doing it ten years already (of course with Jazzy Jay as the oversee-er) and creatively scratches in a variety of samples, fittin in perfectly in the song’s context or making a whole new story of it ('Supreme Diamond D' eg. where he even throws in a Mickey Mouse Club sample).

Master Rob is joined by a teenage Fat Joe and Seville (aka Kid Seville, formerly of Dynamic Force, made a few 12”s with King Shameek, DJ Hollywood and even Lord Finesse, the latter remained –that issue again- unreleased) in the crew anthem 'Oh Shit', which holds up-tempo raw funk just like 'Tuf', where Master Rob proves to have become a praised rap veteran if he had chosen for a music career. Besides the egotrippin (whereas he praises Diamond for being so humble in the smooth but heavy funk bass-ed 'One Of The All Time Greats'), Master Rob goes political and afro-centristic in 'Revolution Of The Mind' where Diamond D again draws attention with an amalgam of samples underlining the song’s theme (Gill Scott Heron, Martin Luther King,…).

KMD’s 'Black Bastards', Charizma & Peanut Butter Wolf’s 'Big Shots', Dooley-O’s 'Watch My Moves' are only a few of the releases that were unearthed and finally made it to where they belong; the record shelves. 'I’m Not Playing' might be even more; a hip-hop artefact with a story behind it and a stepping stone for the best producer on the mic. A classic that yet has to become a classic.

POSTED ON 05|06|2007 by cpf

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