Guilty Simpson and Small Professor - Highway Robbery (Review)

Guilty Simpson and Small Professor - Highway Robbery

"Highway Robbery" is a collaboration album between Detroit emcee Guilty Simpson and Philadelphia producer Small Professor. The album features guest appearances from Boldy James, A.G. (of D.I.T.C), Castle and others as well as cuts by Statik Selektah and DJ Revolution. It was released on September 24,2013 via Coalmine Records.

1) Take Your Power (Intro) - The album kicks off with a quick "Batman" sample before Guilty Simpson comes in and spits a few rhymes over a laid-back instrumental with some resonant guitar strings and melodic bass. The beat is ill and Guilty sounds pretty good over it. Too bad this is so short since it's dope. Still, its a good way to start off the album.

2) Get That Pay (Scooby Mix) - The instrumental on this song is a bit darker than the first, with some foreboding synths layered over upbeat live drums and looped up vocal grunts. The beat should get your head nodding a bit and Guilty Simpson does his thing over it, kicking some violent street rhymes about getting his money by any means necessary. I'm feelin' this track. Very ill.

3) I'm The City (featuring Boldy James and Statik Selektah) - Small Professor samples "The Ninja" from the "Shogun Assassin" soundtrack and layers it over some ambient percussion that gives the song a kind of Wu-Tang-esque vibe. The beat is banging and it's made even better due to Statik Selektah's ill scratching during the chorus. Lyrically both Guilty Simpson and Boldy James flow effortlessly over the beat, offering up some darker street stories to compliment the dreary feel of the instrumental. This track is fire.

4) Blap (Interlude) - Dope instrumental interlude with a kind of post-apocalyptic feel.

5) It's Nuthin (featuring A.G.) - Guilty Simpson and D.I.T.C. member A.G. share the mic over another head-nodding instrumental, this time with fuzz guitars over stomping drums and a vocal sample on the chorus. Similar to the other beats on the album so far, the instrumental has a darker feel to it and both emcees sound right at home over it, especially A.G. when he spits
"Immune to the sirens, in tune with the Mayans
I'm used to the noise, awkward when it's silent
So I find myself talking when it's quiet
Misunderstood most of the time
It's weird, but I'm clear when the words rhyme
Can't describe what I feel, the glory is all mine"
Very dope.

6) On the Run (featuring DJ Revolution) - This song also has a bleak instrumental that sounds like something you should play at night, but this time it also has a sort of old school boom-bap vibe to it as well. Once again Guilty Simpson delivers with the violent street lyrics while DJ Revolution comes in after the second verse will some ill scratching to close out the song. Dope shit.

7) Go (featuring Elucid and Castle) - Guilty Simpson shares mic duties with North Carolina emcee Castle (who dropped his debut album "Gasface" back in July) and Elucid (who I'm unfamiliar with) over another murky Small Professor instrumental. The beat is pretty ill and all three emcees come correct over it, spitting some humorously violent rhymes in their usual aggressive flows. I'm really diggin' the dark feel of the album so far. Very nice.

8) Come Get Me (Outro) - Instrumental outro.

9) Get That Pay (OG Mix) - This track has the same vocals as the Scooby Mix of the song, but the beat is a little different. It has a similar feel to the first mix, with some eerie synths and energetic live drums, and it's just as nice in my opinion. Due to that, I'm not quite sure which one I prefer since both are very good.

10) The Easiest Way (Remix) - The final song on the album has a somewhat hostile violin backing sample over head-nodding drums and Guilty Simpson rips it, kicking more of his usual violent and witty rhymes in a threatening flow. Again, its a shame that this song is so short because its really dope. Oh well.

I'm going to rate the album

3.75 / 5

because its quite good. Small Professor really impressed me with the beats throughout the course of the album, with most having a darker feel while still sounding fresh and not coming across as rehashes of the previous song. Lyrically Guilty Simpson is on point as well, spitting aggressive and vivid street lyrics on pretty much every song. The only real complaints I have with the album are the lack of diverse subject matter as well as the general shortness of the album as a whole. If they would have added a track or two with with something other than street lyrics it would have helped to expand both the length of the album as well as break up the somewhat monotonous lyrics. Still, the album is very good if you go into it looking for gritty street bangers.


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