A lot of people think that Camp Lo fell off hard after their classic debut, Uptown Saturday Night. They see each subsequent release as a disappointment, a failure to recapture the magic of that initial offering. I’m of a different school of thought. To me, each Camp Lo album is a Hattori Hanzo sword, and as Michael Madsen’s Budd said in Kill Bill: Vol. 2, “If you’re gonna compare a Hanzo sword, you compare it to every other sword ever made… that wasn’t made by Hattori Hanzo.” Through this lens, each Camp Lo album post-USN is not a failure, but yet another imaginative adventure into a beautiful and exotic realm of atemporal funk and otherworldly feats of linguistic grandeur.
80 Blocks from Tiffany’s Pt. 2 is no different, except for the fact that instead of unofficial third member Ski Beatz or an ensemble of others, it features the often imitated but never duplicated Soul Brother #1 Pete Rock in the producer’s chair. And if you think about it, this soul/funk combination makes perfect sense. After all, one of the main reasons CL Smooth’s voice always sounded great over Pete Rock’s beats was that it was… well, smooth. And in terms of rap delivery, who’s smoother than Sonny Cheeba and Geechi Suede? The March 2011 release of the first 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s mix, comprised almost exclusively of previously released Camp Lo a cappellas and Pete Rock instrumentals, provided some idea of what this fantasy-rap team might sound like, but even that well-blended teaser tape couldn’t adequately foreshadow just how tight this project truly is.
Stream the new mixtape below, watch the 1979 documentary 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s on YouTube, spend the rest of your life combing the BX for whichever poetry-club-cum-interdimensional-portal gave our world Camp Lo, and when finally you give up your search, just be thankful that they’re still here.