DJ Andrew Unknown & DJ Mekalek/Various Ain't No Love — The Lost Freestyle Sessions Pt2

In typical mix-tape fashion, DJs Andrew Unknown and Mekalek blend a variety of classically established hip-hop instrumentals for the best in New York's underground to drop off-the-top rhymes and pre-writtens. This makes for some dream team combinations that may not sound as good as a studio collaboration, but work is put into this project to make it sound professional; despite occasional beat changes during verses, the cuts and "choruses” give the songs on Ain't No Love a more structured feel that is often missing from freestyle sessions. The repetitiveness of freestyle after freestyle becomes a bit tedious, and the artist selection could have been broader, but Ain't No Love is a superb introduction to a large number of talented MCs who have gained recognition for their rhyme skills and lightening quick wit. While this mix may not have universal appeal, names like Heltah Skeltah, Cocoa Brovaz, Buckshot, the Old Maid Billionaires, Mr. Complex, the Demigodz and the highly underrated Percee P, among others, will have fans of East coast hip-hop, and freestyles in general, willing to drop their hard-earned cash on this compilation. The track that may interest most hip-hop heads is "My Minds Playin’ Tricks on Me” by Al-Shid, Huggy Bear and J-Zone (collectively, the Old Maid Billionaires), which sees the trio updating the Geto Boys’ classic with a taste of humour. Ain't No Love may not end up in heavy rotation, but there’s enough here to keep you returning to it. (Independent)