Ill-Legitimate The Album

Ill-Legitimate are a ten-man crew with a long discography of solo and collaborative releases. But their debut full-length revolves around the founding Vancouver, BC trio of rapper Anonymouz, producer Chronic Sythe, who were already collaborating on an album, and producer Nicky "the Chopfather" Scarfo. Sythe produces nine of the 14 songs on The Album, while Scarfo handles four. The sole outsourced beat (Benzie's "Bangin") is a bouncy posse cut fit for the mid-'90s, but is nestled nicely into the unified sound the in-house production duo have created with their combination of raw drums, smooth selection of jazz, bluegrass, swing, soul, classical and ethnic music samples. The change-ups and movement within the music, such as the slow build-up and minimal beat of "Dangerous," present an organic fluidity reinforced by the occasional use of live instrumentation. Anonymouz, with his traditional but charismatic delivery, wisely appears on pretty much everything, aside from the vocal-less intro and "Wrinkle Free," a solo from Copasetic, a long-time member (and another of the more accessible MCs in the crew), who also receives a great deal of mic time, along with Sythe, and to a lesser extent, newer member Azrael. Unfortunately, AOK, Dutch member Risskant and Australian member P-Butta appear as often as guests Kaboom, Denz and Chadio, which is once each. DJ Booz lays down a handful of cuts, but DJ Kilocee is sadly absent. The Album starts to drag a bit with the final few slower songs, but it's undeniably catchy and fun. (Independent)