Various We Came from Beyond

For the last 13 years Mike Nardone has played a vital role in the Southern California hip-hop scene, bringing underground artists to the table via his weekly radio show and now an album of the same name, We Came From Beyond. Nardone has been known to be the outlet for giving West Coast artists from Cypress Hill to the Beastie Boys a push by embracing their white label records and demo tapes and unleashing some of the finer beats and rhymes in hip-hop through radio. A handful of these artists have been compiled by Nardone with some of their earlier forms of music-making, making We Came From Beyond a nice dose of nostalgia, providing a sense of what hip-hop treasures must have been tossed into Nardone's lap. Cut Chemist was known to bring in poorly-recorded cassettes of beats in the early days and even though his production skills have heightened in "Unified Rebelution" by Jurassic 5, there's still that sense of old school flavour through the classic breakbeat and simplistic rhyming skills. Blackalicious also drop an old gem with "40oz for Breakfast" which, like most SoleSides projects, is capped off by a brilliant production job by a young DJ Shadow. Even though there's some fresh cuts recorded especially for this compilation, it's these classic tracks that make We Came From Beyond so rewarding to listen to. Its only fault is the 17-minute long closing track with an absurd number of MCs paying respect to the late Rob One. No matter how great the breakbeat or vocal skills are (in this case they're mediocre) that amount of time for a single track is torture. Shame they couldn't have filled that slot with a few more classic hip-hop tracks from other Mike Nardone admirers. (Razor & Tie)