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The crackdown on mix tapes in Toronto has left many fiends turning to new avenues for obtaining these gems. Seizing the moment is Skratch Bastid - Atlantic Canada's best scratch deejay 5 years running. He's won all three of the DMC competitions in Halifax, and prior to that he was forced to retire from the Halifax DJ Olympics after winning three years in a row - all before the age of 20. His last album, Bastards Business, left something to be desired, but all is forgotten with the release of Blazin. Finally I have a mix tape that I'm not embarrassed to bump in my car.
Skratch Bastid's Blazin is a satisfying blend of down-home talent and dependable underground hits. His selections shine, as does his choice not to liter his mix with his own vocals. Some of the past year's best hip-hop songs make the cut, including my favorites: 'Freedom' by Jurassic 5, 'Skillz' by Gangstarr, 'Get By' by Talib Kweli, 'Made You Look' by Nas, 'Originate' by Large Professor & Beatnuts and 'Get Wise 91' by Edan & Mr. Lif. Cee!!!!'s military style of rapping makes for a nice bridge between 'Animal Rap' (Kool G Rap & Jedi Mind Tricks) and the ever politically charged 'Turn Off The Radio' by one of my favorite groups: Dead Prez. Also represented are Bastid's Halifax roots with the inclusion of Buck 65 (with 'Stella Kuen'), Tachichi, Kunga219, Gordski, and beat boxing prodigy Kaleb Simmonds.
Skratch Bastid also shows off some of his renowned tricks with 'Juggling Justin' where he mixes Justin Timberlake's vocals from 'Like I Love You' with a Neptunes guitar riff highlighted by his use of the word "drums." He also melds Nas' 'Get Down' seamlessly into its originally sampled 'Paid The Cost To Be The Boss.'
Blazin is an amazing mix of underground and Halifax hip-hop talent. Skratch Bastid made the key selections necessary to keep the listener's beat bopping and their mind lyrically stimulated. This album is definitely worth pickin up if you can find it.Troy Neilson
This review was written June 18, 2003
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