DJ-JS1 Ground Original

Featuring a balanced line-up of veteran and hungry up and coming MCs exhibiting their microphone techniques over the beats of Queens turntablist DJ-JS1, Ground Original represents a solid listening experience. Unabashedly celebrating its adherence to unadorned New York boom-bap, Ground Original is the type of soundtrack best digested while pounding the sidewalks or taking public transit. DJ-JS-1's head-nodding beats and tightly constructed chorus scratches yields highlights like "Essentials" where he faces off with Rahzel the Godfather of Noyze while KRS-One carries the track with customary bluster. While the reliance on a skills first credo by most of the MCs means a level of redundancy occasionally sets in, the presence of some of the finest MCs ever in Kool G. Rap & Big Daddy Kane as well as creative approaches like Masta Ace's verse written from the perspective of graffiti aerosol can on "What Am I? Part 1" definitely helps to raise the bar. But it's O.C., a once-revered MC in the early '90s who makes the strongest impression on "Beyond" as his measured flow perfectly compliments JS-1's jazzy piano soundscape. It's evidence that the shout-outs that JS-1 gets from the likes of DJ Premier aren't being carelessly tossed around and that he's a promising producer to watch for in the future. (Yosumi)