Statik Selektah - What Goes Around (Review)

Statik Selektah - What Goes Around (Essence of Hip-Hop)

"What Goes Around" is the latest album from hip-hop producer Statik Selektah. The album features guest appearances from Ab-Soul, Lil Fame, Styles P, Talib Kweli, Black Thought, Joey Bada$$ and many others and is fully produced by Statik Selektah himself. It is set to be released on August 19, 2014 via Showoff Records / Duck Down Music.


1) What Goes Around (featuring Lil Fame and Ea$y Money) - The album kicks off with M.O.P.'s Lil Fame and ST Da Squad member Ea$y Money kicking some braggadocios street raps over a crazy Statik produced instrumental. The beat is nice, with swirling synths and blaring horns over head nodding drums, and both emcees sound really good over it. Nice way to start off the album. - 4/5

2) Carry On (featuring Joey Bada$$ and Freddie Gibbs) - Woah. Statik Selektah delivers a beautiful instrumental on this cut, with a jazzy saxophone looped up over more swirling keyboards/synths. The beat is banging and both Joey Bada$$ and Freddie Gibbs (who's album with Madlib is still in my top 10 of the year) rip it, as expected. This ones fire. - 5/5



3) The Thrill Is Back (featuring Styles P and Talib Kweli) - This track features Talib Kweli and SP The Ghost rapping about real hip-hop and its recent resurgence in popularity over a laid back piano-based instrumental. The beat and rhymes are both really dope and I'm feelin' the way Statik is mixing and matching emcees that don't usually work together on some of the tracks (although these two have worked together a few times). - 4.5/5

4) The Imperial (featuring Action Bronson, Royce Da 5′ 9″ and Black Thought) - Oh man. Statik Selektah delivers another banger on this cut, this time with soaring strings, piano keys and the occasional horns over hard hitting drums. The beat is banging and everyone on here rips it, with Black Thought having the standout verse by far and proving once again that he is one of the best doing it today. - 5/5

5) All the Way (Pimp Hop) (featuring Snoop Dogg, Wais P, Ransom and CharlieRED) - I guess it's only right for Snoop to show up on a track with "pimp" in the title, but Wais P and Ransom both are kind of unexpected on here. With that being said, this shit is actually not as bad as I was expecting. The beat has a sort of "pimp" feel to it to go along with the subject matter and all three rappers sound good enough over it (with CharlieRED just proving the chorus). Its not my favorite song on here, but it's not terrible. - 3/5

6) Back For You (featuring Dilated Peoples) - Now this is better. Dilated Peoples (who just dropped an ill album last week with "Directors of Photography") show up on this joint which features Rakaa Iriscience and Evidence doing their thing over another crazy beat. The production is real smooth, with a looped up vocal and horn sample, and both emcees sound really good over it as they rap about traveling around the world while doing this hip-hop shit. Nice. - 4/5

7) Alarm Clock (featuring Ab-Soul, Jon Connor and Logic) - Now this is exactly the kind of production I was hoping to hear Ab-Soul spit over on "These Days", but he kind of went a different direction on that one. Regardless, its great to hear Soulo body a soulful Statik beat and both Jon Connor and Logic do the same. Yet another banger. - 4.5/5

8) My Time (featuring Black Dave, CJ Fly, Nyck Caution and Josh Xantus) - Statik Selektah delivers another smooth horn instrumental, this time over more energetic drums and what sounds like a soft xylophone. The beat is dope and the rhymes are just as good, with Black Dave (whom I'm not familiar with), CJ Fly and Nyck Caution (both of Pro Era) rapping about how it's their time to shine while Josh Xantus provides the chorus. - 3.5/5

9) Fugazi (introducing Sincere) (featuring Sincere) - This is another track featuring an emcee that I'm not familiar with, but he actually sounds really dope on here. The beat is a tad darker than some of the others, with hi-pitched synths over rolling drums, but Sincere really impressed me. I'll have to keep my eye out for more from him. - 4/5

10) Long Time (featuring Action Bronson) - Action Bronson goes solo over another jazzy instrumental centered around a piano loop and stomping drums. The rhymes are dope and Statik is killin' it with the production. So far this album is shaping up to be much better than his last. - 3.75/5

11) Drunk and High (featuring Noreaga, Termanology and Reks) - This is yet another combination of rappers that I would have never thought would work, but the end result is actually pretty good. Nore sets it off and spits the usual, while Termanology and Reks both follow up and rap about being "drunk and high". The rhymes are nice enough and the beat has a sort of funky feel to it, but this track isn't hitting me quite as much as some of the others. - 3/5

12) The Chopper (featuring Jon Connor and Ransom) - Holy shit. Jon Connor bodies a lively instrumental full of jazzy saxophones and animated drums while Ransom holds his own for the second verse. I'm really diggin' the energetic feel of the production and both emcees rip it. Very nice. - 4.5/5

13) Down Like This (featuring Sheek Louch, Pharoahe Monch and Crooked I) - Statik Selectah comes through with another darker instrumental, this time with more brass sections over some synths and interesting percussion that has me nodding my head. Lyrically you know this track is going to be fire and it is, with Sheek, Monch and Crooked I all ripping the beat. I think Pharoahe has the best verse though. - 4.5/5

14) Slum Villain (featuring Joey Bada$$) - This cut is a Joey solo track and it's pretty dope, with the Pro Era emcee going in over another darker jazz instrumental. It's not my favorite cut on here, but it's far from terrible and has me looking forward to what Joey is cooking up for "B4.Da.$$". - 3.5/5

15) Heltah Selektah (featuring Sean Price and Rock) - Rock and Ruck reunite as Heltah Skeltah over a breezy instrumental with some airy keyboards/chimes, horns and head nodding drums. I'm feelin' both the beat and the boastful rhymes on here, but I prefer to hear Heltah Skeltah over some more gritty production. Still, I like this. - 4/5

16) Overdose (featuring B-Real and JFK) - This track finds Cypress Hill's B-Real linking up with JFK (whom I'm not familiar with) as both emcees kick some reflective rhymes over a string-heavy Statik production. The beat is laid-back and suits the subject matter of the song perfectly. Nice. - 3.75/5

17) Something To Cry For (featuring Boldy James) - This cut sounds like something that could have come straight off of Boldy James's "My First Chemistry Set" album with Alchemist, which is a good thing. The beat is fire, with a soaring guitar, ambient synths and head nodding drums, and Boldy sounds good enough over it as he spits some street raps about beating a case and such. He isn't the best lyricist around, but I'm a fan of his style. - 3.75/5

18) Rise Above (featuring Astro and Dessy Hinds) - Statik Selektah delivers yet another fire instrumental on this song, with more saxophones, synths and a vocal sample on the chorus. The beat is dope and both Astro (yet another emcee I'm not familiar with) and Pro Era's Dessy Hinds sound nice enough over it. - 3.5/5

19) Get Away (featuring Joe Scudda and Colin Munroe) - Joe Scudda kicks some personal rhymes about trying to make his folks proud and about the death of his father over a hard hitting instrumental that fits in nicely with the sonic theme of the album. The beat and rhymes are dope, but the chorus by Colin Munroe isn't quite as strong. Still, not bad. - 3.25/5

20) God Knows (featuring Bun B, Jared Evan and Pos of De La Soul) - The final song on the album finds U.G.K.'s Bun B and Pos (of De La Soul) kicking some more personal and reflective rhymes over a heartfelt, jazzy instrumental while Jared Evan provides the chorus. Just under three minutes into the track, we get a quick skit and then Kool Keith comes through and spits some of his usual quirky rhymes over another banging instrumental. Dope way to close out the album. - 4/5

I'm going to rate the album

4 / 5

because it's really good. Statik Selektah delivered beautifully with the production on this album, with mostly every song having a real jazzy boom-bap feel to it. Despite the abundance of saxophone/horn and piano samples, none of the beats sounded like rehashes of the others and actually left me wanting more (which is quite a feat after a 20 track album). Lyrically the project isn't quite as good as the beats, with a few verses here or there that are not as strong as the others. That's not to say the rhymes are bad because they are quite good, just some of them don't match the outstanding quality of the production. With that being said, I really enjoyed the way Statik matched up featured emcees on this project, with none of the verses feeling out of place within the theme of each song. Overall, the album is fire and is one of my favorite entries in Statik's discography.


2 comments:

  1. Surprised you rated it so high. I thought it was way worse than Extended Play and just plain boring outside a few tracks

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    1. I've heard a lot of people say they liked "Extended Play" better than this one, but I'm really digging the jazzy feel of this project. "Extended Play" was good, but I felt like this one had more standouts (at least to me).

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