[23 January 2007]
D-Block is another of the seemingly innumerable rap posses out there. In this case, it comprises former members of the Lox—Jadakiss, Sheek Louch, and Styles P—along with J-Hood. And like other groups the Diplomats and G-Unit, they have released their very own CD/DVD mixtape package, conveniently called The CD/DVD Mixtape. Yet unlike some other artists, such as the Clipse, who have hit the mixtape circuit hard, D-Block’s new release is paltry and limited in content.
The nine tracks on this album last barely more than half an hour. The original members of the Lox appear three times, and arguably the group’s most talented member, Jadakiss, appears but once. And the second track on the album, the menacing and thundering “Devine”, appeared on Sheek Louch’s album After Taxes a full two years ago. It just seems that for the CD, the group did not put much effort, seemingly culling together things they had around for 30 minutes of music that, while entertaining, feels bare and strung together.
The star of the album is newcomer J-Hood, who has three solo tracks to himself. The best of the three is “Hood Bargain”, a solid track with lyrics that promote the standard ghetto posturing. While J-Hood does not possess a lot of charisma, his smooth cadence is a perfect fit for the screeching strings and booming menace of the song. “Kill Ya Self” is the requisite 50 Cent diss track, using a quick sample of 50’s own “Back Down”. And the track works, not necessarily because the song is great, but because the endless barrage of insults and name-calling is pretty cutting and funny. The opening track “D.B.L.O.C.K.” is another highlight, as it is the only track featuring Jadakiss. And while his verse is fairly lazy, it is always a welcome to hear his distinctive drawl.
The accompanying DVD, running two hours, ironically enough is much longer than it needs to be. And while there are some interesting bits of in-the-hood footage, candid interviews, and several videos, ultimately it feels mashed together and unfocused. The CD/DVD Mixtape feels, in the end, a bit off. That is not to say that it isn’t without its solid moments or interesting interviews. Rather, the album is too slapped together and too much of a mish-mash of different things. The advice here is simple: wait for a more coherent and filled-out project from the group.