For heads who have mainlined hip-hop for decades, no new rap single could ever rile the emotion that Black Moon’s “Who Got the Props” once summoned. That said — and I’m prepared to get crucified for this — more than a few true-school veterans are cooking fresh contemporary rhymes that trump their seminal material.
That especially goes for Buckshot and KRS, both of whom have been prolific lately, and who together, on Survival Skills, prove that they’ve dramatically advanced the contextual styles with which they first entered the stage. Buckshot remains that cocky slight dude with clobber-some hood rhymes; KRS is boom-bap’s tenured professor and the last MC who could ever claim he’s not preachy.
On their Brooklyn-Bronx connection, the unlikely duo invite the underground’s premier producers (Black Milk, Ill Mind, Marco Polo, Nottz) and saliva slingers (Pharoahe Monch, Sean Price, Talib Kweli) to help meld their distinct approaches. The guest-heavy formula mostly clicks, particularly on “Clean Up Crew” with Rock and “The Way I Live” with Mary J. Blige, but a few misfires — including awkward Slug and Immortal Technique verses — stop this memorable collaboration just short of greatness.