Tek & Steele Smiff N Wessun: Reloaded

After taking a vacation from studio time for a few years it’s time for the return of Tek & Steele (better known as Smif N Wessun or the Cocoa Brovaz) to complete the trilogy of Duck Down releases this year. Of course, it’s not as good as their Dah Shinin’ debut — in fact it’s not even close — but these days has any classic hip-hop crew captured their former greatness? So with an updated sound we get a lot of corny synth work on production and Tek & Steele coming lyrically tough with their bully lyrics. Sometimes it works like the Roc Raida-produced "The Truth” and the fantastic "Gunn Rap,” as the duo make it quite clear that this isn’t a comeback over a great guitar-laced tempo. Then there’s the deadly reunion that should have carried the entire record as Da Beatminerz step up to the production plate to deliver four jams that, unsurprisingly, are the best to be found on Reloaded, such as stand outs "Toolz of the Trade” and a Talib Kweli graced "We Came Up.” There are a lot of hot jams to be found on Reloaded that should keep most fans happy and give further fuel to the Boot Camp Clik foundation, but when you wince at the lack of freshness to be found when Buckshot spits over digital handclaps, you can’t help but daydream about the "Bucktown” days. (Duck Down)