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This is my first exposure to the Night Owl compilations. So I don’t have the privilege of comparing the growth from the first release up until this one, but I am familiar with Syntax and some of their artists. Right off the bat the project opens up with some dope cuts and scratches by DJ Wise over a phat beat by Tommy Percival called “Start from Scratch”. This track is off the chain and takes me back to the time when I was more fluent on the one’s and two’s. This track could have definitely been longer.

The first track that stands out above the rest is, “What You Know,” featuring: Tre9, S.O.M., & CY. Produced by: Shane Newville. This track has a NY vibe that will definitely keep your head bobbin’ and can rock any party. The emcees break it down on what it’s like to walk the straight and narrow as a believer in general, let alone in the Hip-Hop industry, whether it is Christian or mainstream. They share their frustrations in dealing with distributors to get their music into the stores while working full-time, and to do music as their calling. It’s good to see Much Luvv Records and Syntax working together in an industry where it seems denominational differences can get in the way.

My favorite track is “Hidden in The Bushes” Featuring: Freddie Bruno, K-Drama, & Dirt, beat: Shane Newville. Shane does it again with a fresh beat for hip-hop heads. The track rides real nice and has a groove that heads will definitely feel. Freddie Bruno opens the song with a fresh verse worthy of any emcee’s respect. He rides the track like it was customized specifically and personally for his style. I think it’s one of the best verses on the compilation. K-Drama, my hometown homie follows up the track well and holds his own as he expresses his mind and shows that he’s earned the spot and accolades he’s been given over the years. Dirt closes out the track in his classic slow flow that has made this track a definite favorite of mine.

The last track I was feeling the most is “The Principle” featuring: Urban D., Spec, and Los-1. Produced by: sirROCDOMZ & Shane Newville. The beat is slightly off tempo, which really works for this song. The title basically speaks for itself and sums up the entire track. These cats aren’t selling out for anything that may compromise their walk with Christ. They even express that a cable show at one time wanted to do a reality TV series following their life and music experiences, but they felt it would have been a compromise to exploit themselves in such a manner. Much props to staying true to your principles. Personally, I would have liked to see that on cable instead of some of the garbage that floods the stations now.

Closing out the project was turntable wizardry by DJ Promote with the beat by Tommy Percival on “Thank You and Good Night”. His cuts and scratches were off the chain and would give any DJ a run for their money. Just like the opening track it was too short. I would love to see an album by both DJ’s showing off their turntable techniques much like DJ Skillspinz did on his solo release. I would even like to see them battle. Not in a bragging manner, we all know that there is nothing wrong with healthy competition.

To sum it up this is a very good release by Syntax. My only advice would be to work with more sounds and more actual playing of instruments. The songs are very good in their own right, but much has a similar vibe, which makes it harder for any one track to stand out. To some degree the underground sound that Syntax has is starting to sound alike. The ideas are original; it just seems the same sounds are being used and some of the kicks didn’t have any bottom. The hooks could be improved. A lot of mainstream music on the radio has good hooks, just bad lyrics. This project has good lyrics, just not real catchy hooks. I only found myself repeating hooks from a couple of songs. If you are a fan of Syntax you will more than like this release, while others may only like a few choice selections. Taken in its entirety, the album is good.

Cons: Overall vibe of the tracks feel the same and some songs suffer from average hooks.

Pros: Variety of artist, awesome tracks and a great value for the money.

Label: Syntax Records
Release Date: March 27 2007
Tracklisting:

  1. “Start From Scratch” – DJ Wise
  2. “Move On” – Man of War
  3. “Lost Boys” – SolSeekers (Capture & JustMe)
  4. “Big City of Dreams” – RedCloud (feat. Pigeon John)
  5. “It’s My Time” – MotionPlus (feat. Theory Hazit)
  6. “Yours and Mine” – Braille, Illtripp, & ArtOfacT
  7. “Technique” – Def Shepard
  8. “Back” – CAS METAH of Scribbling Idiots
  9. “What You Know” – Tre9, S.O.M., & Cy
  10. “Sole Control” – NoVA Infinite
  11. “Get Up” – Kaboose
  12. “Lifetime Season” – Squashy Nice & AD
  13. “Hidden in The Bushes” – Freddie Bruno, k-Drama, & Dirt
  14. “Guilty by Association” – Braille of Lightheaded
  15. “Hundreds” – Spoken Nerd, Absent Minded, & Luke Geraty
  16. “Got It Get It” – LA Symphony
  17. “The Principle” – Urban D., Spec, & Los-1
  18. “Chiropractor’s Goldmine” – MaxOne (feat. Sam Hart)
  19. “Thank You and Good Night” – DJ Promote