DJ Polo Killer Kuts (with Kool G Rap)

[Cold Chillin'; 1994]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: old school hip-hop, underground hip-hop
Others: MF Doom, Eric B. & Rakim, Ultramagnetic MC’s

In 1989, I was a full-fledge hip-hop freakazoid. Public Enemy was on the stereo daily, BDP taught me about the genre's intricacies and downfalls, and N.W.A educated me with far too many new vocabulary words that mom and dad wouldn't approve (insert soap in mouth here). Ice-T was chill gangsta while A Tribe Called Quest showed consciousness. Hip-hop was blooming and nothing stood in its way. In the next three years a plethora of emerging new hip-hop artists released several significant albums but none were as important as Kool G Rap and DJ Polo's 1989 opus, Road To The Riches, perhaps the most underrated album of its genre. Most of G Rap's discography has been overlooked for many years, even though they may be one of the best emcee/dj artists to ever grab the mic and spin the steel. The have possibly been overshadowed by their Juice Crew affiliation but Kool G Rap & DJ Polo deserve greater commendation for their work and ethics. Fortunately greatest hits packages give us a chance to remember such fallen musical heroes and give them the due praise they deserved many years ago.

Killer Kuts is one of three greatest hits packages detailing the musical journey of G Rap & Polo and it's easily the best. Although not Kool G Rap & DJ Polo's first hit, Killer Kuts opens with "Road To The Riches," the title track from their debut album. A young Marley Marl drops science on the introduction and kicks out one of hip-hop's most memorable beats. Laced with pounding piano, snare, and Polo's scratches, "Road To The Riches" paved the way for G Rap's more notorious and undervalued work. "Death Wish" is a phenomenal whirlwind of gangsta spit and chaotic drum pulsation showcasing G Rap's most significant thugged-out stance, a style that carried them through three-quarters of their short career.  "Streets of New York", their finest song, is a graphic depiction of lower class New York residents and their behavior. "Ill Street Blues" follows in the same footsteps, illustrating street life and its glorified exuberance. Killer Kuts continues to impress with G Rap's triple-x odyssey "Talk Like Sex", a song that could make 2 Live Crew blush with embarrassment and hide under the covers. And the album never loses steam as it closes with two of G Rap's finest songs. "It's a Demo" was their first single and is their most memorable. And "Wanted: Dead Or Alive" is G Rap's answer to N.W.A's "100 Miles and Runnin;" fast-paced drums, vivid storytelling, and police chases. Glorious!

Kool G Rap & DJ Polo may have been slept-on but it doesn't mean their career was less then impressive. There are no tracks on Killer Kuts that weakens the strength of this greatest hits package. The album is a perfect representation of Kool G Rap & DJ Polo and is an ideal starting point for anyone looking to give them the respect they have deserved for years.

1. Road to the Riches
2. Death Wish
3. Streets of New York
4. Ill Street Blues
5. Men at Work
6. Truly Yours
7. Rikers Island
8. Letters
9. On The Run
10. Talk Like Sex
11. Jive Talk
12. Poison
13. Operation CB
14. It's a Demo
15. Wanted: Dead or Alive