DJ Format If You Can't Join 'Em…Beat 'Em

With a bit of a cheeky title for Format’s follow-up to the fantastic Music for the Mature B-Boy, it seems as though the Brighton beat-baker is throwing down the gloves and ready to battle wack MCs and DJs with what is essentially an effort ready for competitors. Picking up where he left off on his debut, Format continues to pump some heart into hip-hop with some breaker’s delights that are delivered on the quick tempo tip for you and your crew to cut loose to. Samples are plenty and constantly funky, looking to the golden age of rap when cats were still all about lifting portions from their funk and soul records. The one flaw with this album though is that it really is a duplication of Format’s first; not really trying anything new and little room for experimentation. Though when a carbon copy results in another collaboration with Jurassic 5 and twice as many songs from Canada’s greatest MC, then you feel a little foolish for complaining. MC Abdominal flat out rips the mic on every track he is asked to bless, sometimes along with fellow Torontonian D-Sisive, such as on the explosive "3 Feet Deep,” in which the pair even manage to drop a clever ode to EPMD amongst their lyrical web. Chali 2na and Akil’s appearance at the plate isn’t nearly as memorable as their last at-bat, but they still manage to give some life to a piano-charged jazz break with ease. If You Can’t Join ’Em… basically follows the exact same blueprint as Format’s last record. Luckily both are very great records, but next time it wouldn’t be a bad idea to really change his pitch up. (PIAS)