Rhymefest is known for having mixtapes that push the boundaries of hip hop. From his breakout role on A Star Is Born to his last effort, the Michael Jackson-influenced Man In The Mirror, Che cuts no corners and treats each mixtape as if they were an actual album. The good news is that The Manual is no exception and follows in the footsteps of his previous releases. Rhymefest and Shadowkat gave me an early copy of The Manual, so I wanted to share my thoughts with you prior to its release, tentatively scheduled for next Monday (April 6th).
The mixtape was entirely produced by Scram Jones, with the exception of a couple tracks, which were handled by Animal House, Primo, et al. Scram reworks some of your favorite Golden Era gems including Nice & Smooth’s “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow”, The D.O.C.’s “The Formula” and MC Lyte’s “Paper Thin”
Taking it a step further, ‘Fest enlists a handful of Hip Hop’s GOAT’s, to join him on various tracks. From his verbal sparring with Big Daddy Kane on “Rhymefest vs. Big Daddy Kane” (which revisits “Warm It Up Kane”), to “Deal’s A Deal” featuring CL Smooth (which revisits “The Formula”). ‘Fest even goes as far as to remake Heavy D’s “Overweight Lover” (“Overpaid Lover”), which unfortunately does NOT include a guest shot from Waterbed Hev, which is disappointing because I’ve been wondering where Heavy has been since Boston Public.
Two of my personal favorites on the album are the Greg Nice-assisted “Party 4 Free” (Greg Nice just makes party records sound that much better. Word to the Beatnuts), and the “Native Tongue Medley”, which is actually a three song trilogy. Trust me when I say it, you’re going to be rewinding the “Native Tongue Medley” a few times…He’s discussing a lot of Chicago Hip Hop politics on this one. You’re gonna want to hear it.
Some of the songs on The Manual have already hit the web including “Coolness”, “RNQ (Prod. by DJ Premier)”, “Goin In (feat. Queen Latifah)” and the Chuck Hamilton diss “Supersonic”. Not to worry though, as there are 16 other never before heard tracks on there for your listening pleasure. It’s definitely worth your time, and better than most rappers actual releases these days.
01 Who is Che? [Intro]
02 Coolness (Rhymefest) [prod. by Scram Jones]
03 Native Tongue Medley Pt 1 (Rhymefest) [prod. by Scram Jones]
04 Native Tongue Medley Pt 2 (Rhymefest) [prod. by Scram Jones]
05 Native Tongue Medley Pt 3 (Rhymefest) [prod. by Scram Jones]
06 Deal’s A Deal (Rhymefest ft CL Smooth & Haffa) [prod. by Blick & Scram Jones]
07 Rhymefest vs Big Daddy Kane [prod. by Scram Jones]
08 Think About It! (Rhymefest ft Sadat X) [prod. by Scram Jones]
09 Tender Thug (Rhymefest ft Mike Payne) [prod. by Animal House]
10 SuperSonic (Chucky Cheese) (Rhymefest) [prod. by Scram Jones]
11 Wup Your Ass (Nice Peter) [prod. by Nice Peter]
12 Pulls Me Back (Rhymefest) [prod. by Matrax]
13 Party 4 Free (Rhymefest ft Gregg Nice) [prod. by Scram Jones]
14 Overpaid Lover (Rhymefest) [prod. by Scram Jones]
15 Exodus 5.1 (Rhymefest) [prod. by Animal House]
16 Goin In (Rhymefest ft Queen Latifah) [prod. by Dub Sonata]
17 Memory Lane (Doo Wop, Scram Jones & Nature) [prod. by Scram Jones]
18 Rhyme Slow, Rhyme Quick (Rhymefest ft Scram Jones) [prod. by Scram Jones]
19 Prove Myself (Rhymefest ft Haffa) [prod. by Scram Jones]
20 RNQ (Rhymefest) [prod. by DJ Premier]