Time To Meet the X-Ecutioners
Mike Hess
6/16/2002 8:10:20 PM

Scratching and manipulating vinyl is one of the most basic, yet complicated areas of hip-hop, and it seems as if the X-Ecutioners are well on their way to becoming grand wizards with their release Built From Scratch[Loud/Columbia]. “That’s the original essense of hip-hop…Two turntables and a microphone,” is spoken at the end of “XL”, which then leads into a schooling for all aspiring DJs on “X-ecutioners Scratch”.

The reason this album works so well is because it contains everything that rap was founded on. Hip-hop music revolves around two very simplistic, yet very complicated things: the DJ, and the MC. The 4 X-Ecutioners (Rob Swift, Total Eclipse, Roc Raida and Mista Sinista respectively) take care of the DJ part with beat flipping, eye-rattling cuts from old school records to anything new, while the guest DJs were obviously selected by those who know good rap music.

The most powerful and heavy track is certainly “Let It Bang”, featuring the extremely underrated, but always on-point M.O.P., while other tracks like “The X (Y’all Know the Name)” pairs some of the best MCs in the game today. Pharoahe Monch, Xzibit and Inspectah Deck (who has the best delivery of any rapper out there) absolutely kill over a serious party beat. Other songs feature legends like Biz Markie, Kool G Rap, the late Big Pun and new avant hip-hop guru Dan the Automator, even Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park holds his own for a white guy in their current radio hit “It’s Goin’ Down”.

While the raps and verses laid down by these top-notch MCs are pure rap, it’s the scratch sessions that boggle the minds of the listeners. “A Journey Into Sound” is a whirlwind of cuts and mixes, while “Premier’s X-ecution” features the most technical and precise DJ in popular hip-hop, DJ Premier of Gangstarr.

To truly digest this album, throw on a pair of good headphones and let it rip, so you can hear all of the turntable intricacies and precise cuts


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