Vast Aire Dirty Magazine Mixtape

[Sandbox Automatic; 2003]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: two of the most celebrated names in East Coast underground. Mighty Mi has been making beats since Rawkus’ heyday and Vast Aire has garnered some of the most vehement praise from fans and critics alik
Others: Cannibal Ox, Vordul, High & Mighty

Vast Aire's Dirty Magazine Mixtape is a double-edged sword. Many will remember Vast Aire as one half of the critically acclaimed hip-hop duo Cannibal Ox. After the success of their 2001 release The Cold Vein (#3 on my personal Top 1,000,000 of 2001), not much has been brought forth by the duo. Many collaborations have appeared on other albums but nothing concrete has been established regarding any follow up to their brilliant masterpiece. But in the meantime, Vast Aire, the glue of Cannibal Ox, has put together a record that can only be described as part genius, part disaster at the same time.

Dirty Magazine Mixtape mixes the avant-garde rhyming styles and personas of Vast Aire with some of the best hip-hop beats in today's game. The problem is the beats have all been crafted by over ground producers, mostly mainstream acts. Many hip-hop lovers will recognize all of the beats on the record, but that is where the potential for disaster may occur. My first instinct was to compare Vast Aire's newer renditions with the original, but the conclusions do not always favor Vast Aire's mix. Yes, Vast can make any beat refreshing and entertaining with his up-front and abstract rhyme delivery, but some performances are extremely hard to beat. The perfect example is the mix of "Escape From New York," combining the beat from Eminem's 8 Mile theme song. Got to give credit where it is due, Eminem's version blows Vast's away. Vast Aire does pull off some fantastic remixes though, with "They Frontin' (Made You Look)" and "Watch Your Mouth," another Eminem dub, and keeps the entire mix entertaining and pleasurable.

Dirty Magazine Mixtape is a wonderful teaser for the follow-up album from Cannibal Ox. It amplifies Vast Aire's lyrical prowess and substance and showcases his ability to innovate and modernize. Some songs are definite standouts and others get lost in the interpretation. But what remains true is the effort put forth by Vast Aire. Many fans of Cannibal Ox, however, may be turned off by the lack of El-P production and Definitive Jux-concocted beats. And to many, the beats were the reason Cannibal Ox's The Cold Vein was and still is one of the best hip-hop albums ever.

1. Intro (Samurai Guts)
2. Ooh! Ooh!
3. Let's Smoke (Hindi Gush)
4. GiveMeSomeSex! (feat. Carnage)
5. Eat Your Heart Out
6. Drink The Sake Up (feat. G.T.)
7. Junior Sober (Skit)
8. Die Another Day
9. Indie 5 Mil (feat. Metro Of S.A. Smash)
10. Escape From New York
11. 9 X 9
12. They Frontin' (We Made You)
13. Watch Your Mouth (feat. Camu Tao & Copywrite)
14. Ocean Spray (Medley)
15. About Dat Doe (Skit)
16. Turn Me Up
17. Sit Alone (Outro)