DJ Green Lantern Alive on Arrival

When revered mix-tape champ DJ Green Lantern became the lone and unlikely casualty of a long simmering beef between G-Unit’s major players and Jadakiss, and subsequently opted out of a deal with Shady Records rather than raise tensions, many thought that was a wrap on the NY tastemaker. Well, the self anointed evil genius has picked himself up and, with the help of Russell Simmons and seemingly every big name MC in the game, he attempts to state his claim on the coming summer months with Alive on Arrival. Production on the record — handled almost exclusively by the DJ himself — is clever, with Lantern dissecting grade-A samples spanning the past 15 years of hip-hop in a way that makes you almost wish the entire record was just that. (Hearing Pharrell rhyme over Raekwon’s "Ice Cream” beat while Eddie Murphy screams his ice cream routine in the background brings back so many disparate memories). The sheer number of MCs invited to the set, however, tends to weigh the album down a bit, as the excessive thug raps become so generic at times that it’s hard to tell who’s on the mic, making the album (all 34 cuts of it) feel way longer than it probably is. (Neferiu)