Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Let's Talk About This "Symphony 2013"

This video just came out this week; it's apparently from an upcoming PMD EP called New Business. The song's called "Symphony 2013." Let's give it a quick watch so we can discuss it:
Here's my first question, right off the bat: why is this even called "Symphony 2013?" What does this have to do with the original "The Symphony" or any of its sequels, official or not? Firstly, it features none of the same MCs, except for the fact that PMD had already created an unofficial sequel already, EPMD's "Symphony 2000." It's not even the same number of MCs. The concept of "The Symphony" is that you're lining up your all-star MCs. Sure, you might stick an up & comer on there... like Master Ace when MC Shan bails on you at the last second, or letting Truck get on the other "Symphony 2000" with Big Pun, Krs and G Rap.  But, basically the idea is that these are your all-star heavy hitters. And usually, like with "The Cypha (Part 3)," "The Symphony part 2," "Flow On (New Symphony" or "Next Up," you tried to keep as much of that Juice Crew connection as you could.

But there's none of that here. No Juice Crew, and every MC except PMD is an unknown. Also, it isn't the same beat, or instrumentally referential to the original. It's completely unrelated. And there's no "next up" or equivalent hook when passing the mic. Even EPMD's previous "Symphony 2000" held most of these core principles (the "next up" hook, all star MCs). There's honestly no cause to associate this with "The Symphony," other than the fact that there's multiple rappers on it. They might as well have called it "I Got Five On It 2013" or another remix of "U.O.E.N.O." It would be just as arbitrary.

Put, okay. let's push past that. The track isn't terribly exciting, but it's not bad. The video looks alright. PMD's a veteran with some real classics in his track record. But damn, every vibe I get off this video is telling me that this is The Unit all over again:
Even the video is basically the same, minus the dark blue filter.

None of PMD's past crew members/ proteges/ weed carriers are here. No Das EFX, Hit Squaddians, not even K-Solo... Hell, not even Don Fu-Quan. They're all fucking out. This is Team Takeover, the replacements for the replacements.  In fact, wait, did the first guy just call them The Hit Squad? Yes, he did. It's totally The Unit 2.0, clearing out the existing line-up - again! - and starting all over again with random new acts - again! In fact, this is totally "100% Hater Proof 2013." Both songs feature exactly six rappers including their OG team leader, one Jay-Z sound-alike and two white guys. Although thankfully their overly Italian guy doesn't go nearly so overboard as The Unit's did, pairing him up with an extra from The Sopranos and all. Whose insane idea was it to copy this formula? They might as well've ended with a Benzino cameo just to complete the circle.

But I didn't make this post just to bash these guys. Let's give each MC an honest look (in order of appearance):

PMD - kinda has that "I'm an OG; I don't have to spend my time on a creative verse" thing going, but he IS seasoned enough to still come come off respectably while phoning it in. It's a fine opener.

Michael Nixx - is decent. He doesn't have me rushing out to look for solo projects, but he fills a place on a posse cut well enough, with a nice use of the crew name (even if, again, he did say Hit Squad instead of Team Takeover - whoops!).

Joey Battz - is just weaker than Nixx. His persona is hammy, and his verse is corny with a mix of generic filler and that extended Back To the Future reference.

Nam Nitty - Not sure he could stand on his own, but as part of a crew, this guy definitely brings some energy and a nice grimy feel. I could see him providing a good hook on PMD's upcoming EP or something. Whatever vocal effect they put on his voice for that one line makes it totally incomprehensible, though.

Comatoze - Talk about burying the lead! This guy kills it. Forget the PMD EP, give us more Comatoze!

Nymrod - This is the Jay-Z soundalike I mentioned (he even shouts out Brownsville). He starts off alright, but gets strangely lost in a convoluted threat about putting various holes through different parts of a Benz:

"Put a hole in the back of your Benz,
Put a hole in the front of ya speaker,
And the back of ya pants,
Put a hole in the backseat,
That'll put a hole in the back of ya man in the back seat,
Then it'll exit out the front of ya man in the back seat,
Put a hole in the back of the man in the front seat,
That'll exit out the front of the man in the front seat,
Put a hole in the steering wheel,"

It's like, Jesus Christ!  Is this guy still prattling on about holes and rhyming "seat" with "seat?" That one line "put a hole in the front of ya speaker and the back of ya pants" is a little clever. It's not crazy genius, but it's a decent enough line to throw in a verse. But after that, it's like he's gotta be high, right? Like he's totally forgotten what he's supposed to be writing and just gotten lost in the plot of which direction all these holes go. And it's hard to appear gangster when we can all tell you obviously came up with your bars while playing Portals 2 with your buddy at three in the morning.

It reminds me of Eminem's verse on The Outsidaz' "Rush Ya Clique," a song I otherwise love. Remember that whole "I'm so weeded... (How weeded are you?)" where it's like one long, contrived joke with awkward phrasing like "Lauryn, huh? Hill? There's more than one? Eww!" You can tell he really thinks he's doing something mind-blowingly clever, but it's really unfunny because of how forced it is, and irritatingly painful in how long it goes on for. So the whole bit should've been scrapped; it's just embarrassing to listen to; but you just know Em walked out of the booth thinking he killed it and this is the one all the critics will be quoting.

But apparently PMD was more impressed than I was, because I looked on itunes and he featured Nymrod on 3 of the EP's 7 tracks. The only other guy from this song to appear elsewhere on the EP is that Michael Nixx guy on one song. There's also two more new guys (named Enjo and General Stone), but I didn't care enough to listen to any of it. Something tells me PMD didn't even try to make a hot comeback track on this project.

But if Comatoze comes out with something more, I'll check for that.


  1. nymrod is pmds ghostwriter, thats why this whole project is a fail