Freestyle Fellowship Temptations

If the Freestyle Fellowship could have copyrighted their rhyme styles they'd be millionaires by now. As it is, Aceyalone, Mikah Nine, Self Jupiter and P.E.A.C.E. are instead acknowledged as West coast pioneers. Their groundbreaking sessions at the Good Life Café proved to be highly influential, spawning and influencing many groups who didn't gravitate to the gangsta rap genre, such as the Pharcyde. Ironically, it's this same genre that is a surprise musical element on this album. "Seasons," curiously sounding like Dr. Dre's "Xxplosive," and "Different," a track that is supposed to celebrate the group's uniqueness, belies its intentions with an incredibly derivative g-funk beat and simplistic rhymes. Unfortunately the group's long hiatus has also affected their lyrics and much vaunted styles, as their flows no longer sound revolutionary and the lyrics seem to have been dumbed down considerably on "Sex In The City" and "Take That MF." There are flashes of brilliance from the group, but as in the case of Supernatural's freestyle shout-out to the group, which is inexplicably cut short, the moment doesn't last very long. Perhaps expectations for a group who haven't recorded a full album together in a long while were too high, but the work of Aceyalone and other members of the group in the interim didn't indicate such an underwhelming reunion was ahead. To get a true essence of the Freestyle Fellowship, track down their only major label effort, 1993's Inner City Griots or their To Whom it May Concern recording from the halcyon days of the Good Life Café. (Nu Gruv)