Beatnuts Classic Nuts Vol 1.

It's all about the beats. Corona, Queens' finest the Beatnuts have always come up with quirky and unorthodox, yet ear-catching, productions and Classic Nuts gathers most of the best entries of their four albums and various EPs in this overview. Psycho Les and JuJu's lyrics, however, have been steady, yet unremarkable, during their career and, to be honest, they never really recovered from the loss of the group's original MC Fashion. Fashion was the best MC in the Beatnuts, as his appearances on the nimble "Get Funky" and "Props Over Here" demonstrate. He left for a solo career and later joined Missin' Linx, whose "M.I.A." was jacked by Dr. Dre for "Tha Next Episode." That's not to say the remaining duo haven't had their flashes of brilliance. The flute-fuelled "Watch Out Now" and "Off The Books," featuring a breakout performance by the late, great Big Pun, are certified party classics and were no-brainer inclusions. But there are oversights, like the omission of personal favourite "No Equal" and their ignorant mantra "Psycho Dwarf," from their Intoxicated Demons EP, also a few more album tracks and remixes could have been included. These are minor quibbles, since the Beatnuts, contrary to what a greatest hits compilation may connote, aren't out of the game yet. They'll be resurfacing on indie label Landspeed soon and with Fashion (aka Al Tariq) back in the fold, their dusty, jazzy production and shock value lyrics could rebound to earlier creative heights. (Loud)