Sunday, October 30, 2011

Nick Wiz - UGHH Exclusive?

Nick Wiz is back, with another double CD - 43 full-length tracks - of unreleased goodness from his vaults. Interestingly, Cellar Sounds volume 2: 1992-1998 is a exclusive. That's fine with me, because they're a good, reliable store, and if more places carried it, I'd've still probably ordered mine from them. But it does make me worry about the future of this series... if only one website is carrying Volume 3, can we be secure in the hopes for a Volume 4?

But enough gray skies for now, let's just enjoy what we've got - another excellent collection of 100% previously unreleased songs. All your old favorites are back: Cella Dwellas, Shadowz In da Dark, Ran Reed, Pudgee, N-Tyce, Milkbone. And, like last time, Nick hits us off with brief notes explaining every single song in this comp. One small disappointment is no Lord Have Mercy. I was enjoying the idea of him having one show-stopper at the end of every disc #1. Also, artists we'd only been first introduced to in previous volumes of this series, like The Native Assassins and Tross, are back with more lost demos.

Highlights this go around? Well, UG comes pretty nice on a couple tracks, including the album's opener... It's titled "Intro," but it's a full song. N-Tyce brings a different style than we've heard from her before on "Bet You Didn't Know." Pudgee comes with a tight, but politically incorrect, sex track called "Sex Ghetto Styles." A group called Pure Sinister from North Carolina recorded a fresh, hardcore demo track called "You Know My Style." And my personal favorite is an oldie from Madhouse - Shabaam Sahdeeq/s first group from even before Shadowz In da Dark, called "The Boom Bip" that has the MCs and the producer both going outside of their normal lanes for a really funky, aggressively upbeat track.

I mean, don't get me wrong - I don't want to oversell this album. Sometimes the formula here can wear a little thin. A lot of the MCs here are good, but wouldn't particularly stand out in a crowded cypher; and they're often hampered by the need to kick a few too many corny 90's punchlines. Plus some of Wiz's lesser tracks can feel a little formulaic, especially if you're listening to this double disc set end-to-end. And while these compilations have taught me to appreciate a couple of these MCs a little more than I did when they were first coming out - cats like Milkbone or N-Tyce, they still fall more than a little short of genius.

But everything here is good, some of it's really good, and there's a lot of stuff here heads have been waiting to get their hands and ears on since the 90's. Plus, two CDs packed with over twenty full-length songs each is a hell of a lot of material for $14.97. I think you'd be really be cheating yourself to pass it up.

So, whither Volume 4? Man, I hope so! I'm still dying to hear those original Cella Dwellas tracks when Lord Have Mercy was a member, and the fact that Wiz keeps hitting us off with tons of material we've never even heard of means you just know he's got a lot more to go from almost these artists. So I'm sitting here with my fingers crossed that "ughh exclusive" isn't a bad sign. And, in the meantime, the liner notes of this set tells us what's on deck from Nick Wiz and No Sleep Records: Nick Wiz Presents Ran Reed "Respect the ARchitect."


  1. Yeah, there's some good stuff on here. He really gave those "Hardwe're" guys some ill tracks and I think UG really destroys one of his.

    I think you meant Shabaam used to have the group "Sinister Voicez" instead of "Shadowz In Da Dark". Understandable mistake as it can get pretty confusing. In fact, maybe I'm wrong, lol.

  2. LOL Verge, I'm not 100% certain either. I know he's been down with Shadows for ages (they were on his first 12", etc), and I've always associated him with being down with the crew, but I'm not sure if he was officially a member. I"m not really sure of the exact line-up of either group (SItD or Sinister Voicez), just that he's at least down with both.

  3. Wait, Shabaam Sahdeeq was in Shadowz in the Dark. And who are Native Assassins? As a guy from New Jersey, can you help me out with some info?

  4. My bad, I didn't see your reply to the first response. But if you could tell me some info about Native Assasins, I would really appreciate it. Also, any info on Shabaam Sahdeeq in general would be nice.

    1. Native Assassins were Black Sun (who also did some solo stuff) and Fatal before they fully evolved into Shadows In the Dark.

  5. Thank you, brother. Cataloging hip-hop is my #1 hobby, and your archives have been an invaluable resource for me.