Maroons Ambush

With a single here and there for the past couple of years, a lot of heads were anticipating this Blackalicous-meets-Latyrx collaboration to put out a full-length. Lateef and Chief Xcel have finally delivered with Ambush, and even though it’s more on the EP tip in its running time, this record contains some explosive material and lives up to what one would expect from such a mighty hook-up. "Lester Hayes” and "Matter of Time” crop up from a previous release after a couple of years to seep in as classics, with the latter still being the hottest Maroons jam to date with it’s scratch-heavy crashing beat and Xcel whipping together some sort of electronic blare to close things out. What makes Ambush so incredible though is that every track here is exceptional, with no room for filler or nodding off. Even when the duo slow things down and get a little sensitive, it’s incredibly moving and not sappy in the least, but soulful and raw. "Best of Me” has a hook that will have you singing in the shower for weeks, and "Don’t Stop” is incredibly funky with a bongo break and quick disco vocals from Legerald Norman and Ledisi that should easily warm you up this winter. Xcel needs to get serious props for the power of this small recording as the beat miner seems to advance his skills with each new release, and with Gift of Gab dropping by on a pair of tracks, this is a promising look into the Blackalicious future. There’s talk of Ambush only being a mere teaser to a full-length in the New Year, and if this is the indication of what’s in store, we could be witnessing one of the most important recording in recent years. (Quannum)