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Various Artists

Backwoodz Studioz presents Target Practice

(backwoodz studioz; US: 6 Feb 2006)

Backwoodz Studioz’s official site and MySpace page display this clever description of its mission:


“Since 2002 we have been on an oft-delayed mission here at backwoodz studioz, to punch a hole in the rap game big enough for all of the talented cats we know to crawl through. We are not there yet, but the hole is definitely a lot f*cking bigger.”


 


It’s an appropriate quote, as Target Practice acts as an audio advertisement for the label’s roster of artists: Marq Spekt and Karniege (Invizibl Men—with a vanishing “e” at the end of “Invizibl”), Billy Woods and Priviledge (The Super Chron Flight Brothers), Keith Masters, Hi-Coup, the Reavers, and so on. Plus, the set boasts an arsenal of producers (such as Dr. MONOKROME, Bond, and Axis 360) and contributions from guests like Lo Deck, Nathaniel Roberts, and Baron of Red Clay.  Considering the album’s mission (to showcase the Backwoodz talent) and length (21 tracks at about 75 minutes), a certain amount of sub-par material should be expected, perhaps even excused. About a dozen of the songs jumped out at me as immediately enjoyable, which I consider a healthy ratio for a look-at-everything-we’ve-got compilation. Among the tracklist, the production work routinely outpaces the emcees, and I was most impressed by the production efforts that incorporated recognizable yet unexpected elements of pop culture. For example, the Oompa Loompa chants behind Hi-Coup’s “Ghetto Factory” are brilliantly jarring and well executed, along the lines of Jay-Z’s samples from Little Orphan Annie in “Hard Knock Life”. Other highlights are “City of Heroes” (Super Chron Flight Brothers featuring Baron of Red Clay), “Project Doo Wop” (Hi-Coup), “Black Ops” (Super Chron Flight Brothers), “Shadows” (The Reavers), and “Nyce Kidz” (Invizibl Men featuring Lo Deck).

Rating:

Quentin Huff is an attorney, writer, visual artist, and professional tennis player who lives and works in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Law, he enjoys practicing entertainment law. When he's not busy suing people or giving other people advice on how to sue people, he writes novels, short stories, poetry, screenplays, diary entries, and essays. Quentin's writing appears, or is forthcoming, in: Casa Poema, Pemmican Press, Switched-On Gutenberg, Defenestration, Poems Niederngasse, and The Ringing Ear, Cave Canem's anthology of contemporary African American poetry rooted in the South. His family owns and operates Huff Art Studio, an art gallery specializing in fine art, printing, and graphic design. Quentin loves Final Fantasy videogames, Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, his mother Earnestine, PopMatters, and all things Prince.


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