Friday, March 19, 2010

In Search of Stoney Jackson

by Strong Arm Steady

I've never had much interest in Strong Arm Steady, thinking of them as the type of group that show up on mixtapes with artists I like and I can't tell why, and generally as trying to ride Talib Kweli's coattails since he signed them to Blacksmith a few years ago. Sure, they can sound good when featured on a song or two, but they weren't the type of artists I thought could pull off a whole album. Then I saw that their album was going to exclusively feature Madlib production, so of course I bought it...

And I was more or less right - the actual group (Krondon, Phil da Agony, and according to Wikipedia someone named Mitchy Slick) are not particularly interesting when they are rapping on their own. Their subject matter never strays far from weed it seems, although they do manage to sound consistent and let provide a decent enough use of Madlib's very cool beats.

What saves this album (beyond some great Madlib production of course) are guest appearances by Phonte (it's not a good sign when you have a guest on your first track), Talib Kweli, Evidence, Oh No, Fashawn, Guilty Simpson, and enough appearance by Planet Asia he must wonder if he really did leave the group. There are other guests too; in fact, it looks like there are only four tracks where SAS is on their own, which doesn't seem like a sign of confidence in an artist.

This is a decent album, don't get me wrong. It's just not very memorable...

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