This release is really split into two, distinct parts.
Part 1, or side A, is essentially a killer 12" single from Nineteen Ninety Now. It starts off with what's probably the most exciting track off the album, his massive posse cut called "There Will Be Blood" featuring Sadat X, Grand Puba, AG, OC and Diamond D. Considering Nineteen s a CD-only release (sigh), it's great to have the killer posse cut presented here. And it is killer. If you were worried that anybody here was too far past their prime to come off, I can assure you you'll be pleasantly surprised. Puba and Sadat especially add a lot of great energy to the track. And the music? It's live; I love it! Like pretty much everything on Nineteen and Presents, it's baffling that material this great went unused for so long.
But, hey. We fans have got high expectations here (especially with No Sleep's track record). Maybe just presenting a CD-only song on vinyl isn't enough. Well, next up we have an exclusive remix of "There Will Be Blood" (also by Buckwild, naturally). It's completely different but just as compelling. It really flips it, giving a smooth, jazzy vibe. It kind of reminds me of The 45 King's remix of "Flavor Unit Assassination Squad," in that it totally changes the feeling of the track, but makes it work just as well. You can't really pick a favorite - they both work for completely different reasons.
Next up, we've got two additional tracks by Celph over unused Buckwild vaulted beats that didn't appear on the album - they're exclusive to this track. "Nothin' To Say" features Rise, another MC from Celph's old Demigodz crew. The beat is really cool and the concept is fun - rhyming with nothing to say. Rise comes off really nice on this one, and the scratching, provided by Mista Sinista is subtle but slick and impressive in that way only Sinista can bring.
And then this side rides out with "The Celph Titled Show." The track's another low-key banger, and the hook is fun in a retro way. Everything here sounds like the 90's, 'cause of course the music IS all from the 90's, but this one feels especially dated... in a fun way. Left to rhyme on his own, Celph is left a little exposed as being secondary to all the other, better MCs on Presents; but on this song he actually kicks some of his best verses, so he kinda saves the day.
Still, though. It's time for some non-Celph Titled tracks, and that's where side B comes in. Side B is a collection of remixes Buckwild recorded for various artists throughout the 90's that their labels never wound up including on their projects, for one reason or another. ...But I think really all of those reasons could be boiled down to bad taste, because you'd have to be a fool to be sent these mixes and think "nah, we'll pass."
First up is perhaps the best of them, a remix of Kool G Rap & Nas's "Fast Life." Now, there have been a couple of "Fast Life" remixes already released... There's the killer "Norfside Remix" by Salaam Remi (sometimes wrongly credited to Buckwild), which was on Epic's promo 12". And there's also The Vinyl Reanimators' remix from their remix sampler 12". Both of those trumped the LP version, but this one tops them all. This one's smoother and grittier than any of the other mixes... this one feels like it should be the original, the definitive version of the song.
Then you've got four more exclusive remixes of tracks by different 90's artists. You've got a remix for The Bush Babees' "We Run This," which actually uses a beat later recycled for another song by somebody else[
So yeah, I recommend Nineteen Ninety Now; but I recommend Presents like ten times more. But the bad news is that, by the time you're reading this, it's already sold out. It's limited to 200 copies and was only available direct from No Sleep. So if you're after this now, you're gonna have to look out for a copy second-hand. But if you did pre-order it (and I did announce it on my twitter page at the time), and you're just waiting for your copy to arrive, then I think you'll find your expectations will be more than met. This is another first-class release from No Sleep, who promise us more goodness (including a follow-up to their recent OC EP) in 2011.
*They label this as an EP; but at 9 full-length songs, I'm upgrading them.