Easy Mo Bee Now Or Never: Odyssey 2000

Easy Mo Bee isn't exactly a household name when it comes to hip-hop producers, despite his impressive track record. His many credentials include early Notorious B.I.G. material, Craig Mack's enduring "Flava In Your Ear" and producing Doo Bop, the final album by jazz legend Miles Davis. Having kept an extremely low profile over the last few years, Mo Bee re-emerges with this compilation of tracks featuring an assortment of established and new artists. Now or Never shows flashes of Easy Mo Bee's beat-making skills, showing that he hasn't lost his touch, but it is ultimately uneven. Initially, Mo Bee tries to emulate the drama-laden sound perfected by Mobb Deep, and this provides worthwhile moments like "N.Y.C.," from vaunted storyteller Kool G. Rap. But later tracks meander stylistically. "Sound of My Heat," with Snoop Dogg, is a weak attempt at West Coast funk and Mo Bee's strength lies in grittier soundscapes. In trying to cover too many bases, Easy Mo Bee's project winds up being a collection of passable tracks that won't exactly urge you to push rewind. (Priority)