The Team -- World Premiere (Moedoe/Rex/Koch)

Album Review by Garrett Caples
San Francisco Bay Guardian June 21, 2006

After months of delay, the Team's World Premiere has dropped, not on Universal as expected, but rather on large independent Koch. Whether this label jockeying had anything to do with the disc's belated appearance is unclear, yet the finished product is unquestionably one of the best, if most curiously assembled, albums to emerge under the banner of the hyphy movement.

While not a redo of the Bay Area group's 2004 debut, The Negro League (Moedoe), Premiere nonetheless lifts a pair of tracks, including the ShoNuff-produced hit "It's Getting Hot." The album also raids last year's Team mixtape, Go Music (Siccness.net), for the single "Patron," as well as the star-studded remix of "It's Getting Hot," which amusingly resuscitates MC Hammer. Two other singles from last year, "Just Go" and "Hyphy Juice," round out the familiar material, whereas their current single, the "Hyphy Juice" remix, is nowhere to be found.

All this sounds like a recipe for disaster, the same combination of ill timing and hit recycling that blunted the impact of Keak da Sneak's Kunta Kinte (Moedoe, 2006). Yet amazingly enough, Premiere overcomes its checkered origins and bangs from start to finish. The older material sounds fresh and is even heightened in the context of new tunes like "Top of the World" and "Good Girl," which add an almost psychedelic R&B dimension to the hyphy tonal palette. The innovative qualities of the music make any protest against its lyrical limitations — geared almost exclusively toward the club — beside the point, and the group's lack of gangsta posturing is refreshing in itself.

No comments: