Coast II Coast

The Alkaholiks

Loud, 1995

http://www.alkaholiks.com

REVIEW BY: Ben Ehrenreich

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 02/27/2008

The trio of J-Ro, Tash, and E-Swift, collectively Tha Alkaholiks, make music for the love and not the paycheck, which is something that I deeply respect. That being said, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of their music will be A+ quality.

Coast II Coast starts out with the posse cut “WLIX” (featuring the Lootpack), which can be used as a template for the album: great clever verses sprinkled in amongst very average bars. J-Ro, Madlib, and Tash performed well but that could not deter from the fact that both Declaime and Wild Child couldn’t measure up. “Read My Lips” follows with a great simple beat that contains a very timely horn from E-Swift, who handles the most of the production on this album. Most of E-Swift’s brilliance comes in his simplicity; in an era of hip-hop where it’s almost expected for the producer to outshine the lyricist, it’s refreshing to hear a producer not afraid to ease up on the gas a little.

Next, “Let It Out” changes tempos to the eerier side of Tha Liks, which is oddly very unfulfilling. There is nothing blatantly bad with this track, which does have humorous moments from both J-Ro and Tash, but it lacks any real originality or depth to make it a necessary listen. “21 And Under” is a refreshing change in which Tash regales a tale of an encounter with a couple of teenagers to make a revealing statement about the youth in urban environments.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“All The Way Live” is like “Let It Out” in the sense that even with Q-Tip’s assistance, the product is surprisingly unfulfilling. It has four solid verses, but ultimately only J-Ro has a verse worth remembering. “DAAAM!” is filled with an assortment of flows and punch lines that has Tha Liks sounding much more at home. J-Ro once again steals the show but E-Swift and Tash hold their own.

Appropriately laced with a KRS-One sample, “2014” not only contains J-Ro flowing about the resilience of hip-hop over a scratch filled beat courtesy of E-Swift, but it is also the best cut on the album. “2014” is almost worth the price of Coast II Coast alone as it consists of a rare metaphorical moment from Tha Liks; more specifically, from J-Ro. The fact that the message of hip-hop withstanding anything that happens in the world comes from a group like Tha Alkaholiks is only fitting, once again reinforcing that even if mainstream hip-hop has sold its soul, there is an insurmountable amount of underground MCs that won’t stop making quality music.

“Bottoms Up” has Tash keeping up with the theme from”2014” and ridiculing the wack MCs present in 1995. “Flashback” is an ineffective throwback to the earlier days of hip-hop with no help from a helium infused voice chanting “BABY BUBBAS IN THE HOUSE!,” which also runs entirely too long at over six minutes. Despite that mishap, Tha Liks end on a good note with assistance from Diamond D behind the boards and on the mic in “The Next Level.”

Coast II Coast is actually a very fitting title for this album considering Tha Liks are from the West Coast, but managed to make a very East Coast sounding album with help from appearances by Q-Tip and Diamond D. When Tha Liks are at their best, they remind you of how great hip-hop can put a smile on your face with a witty punch line or a creative cadence. The problem is this album is just too inconsistent; the moment you feel a little tipsy, your buzz is disturbed by a few weak drinks peppered throughout. Coast II Coast definitely supplies a thirst for Tha Liks, I’m just waiting for the refreshment.

Rating: C+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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