Statik Selektah – Population Control | Album Review

The terms grafting, grinding and so on are so often thrown about in Hip Hop because anyone refusing to put in the work eventually falls far behind in the never ending race to remain relevant in the scene. Fortunately for respected DJ, Producer, label CEO and radio host Statik Selektah his non-stop efforts have secured his place amongst the small group of respected names across Hip Hop’s wider market. From working with long term partner Termanology to hosting his own show on Shade 45, the East Coast resident has proven to be one of the more adequate jack-of-all-trades individuals in the genre. Still finding time to hit the studio, Population Control is the fifth solo release from Statik, where the now recognisable boom bap, claps and soul flavours of the beatsmith should be done justice by the various spitters on hand to bless each track.

Looking far and wide for talent to appear on Population Control, Statik’s range of Hip Hop heads roped into helping with his new project go from legends such as Bun B to rising female sensation Nitty Scott MC. Familiar names to Statik’s work, Termanology and Sean Price kick things off on the title track; a rough house affair where the producers intense arrangements clash with the bullying delivery from the two imposing emcees.

Selektah going far and wide for collaborations ensures that the album delves into different forms of Hip Hop as well as bringing different vibes. This ensures Population Control steers clear of being predictable or going stale early. Gary Indiana’s Freddie Gibbs continues his rich vain of form by teaming up with country boy Big K.R.I.T. on “Play The Game” where the two concoct warm, homely anecdotes about coming up with some struggle. Another newcomer to the game, Mac Miller brings his youthful, slacker persona to “Groupie Love” which sits well with Stat’s chilled jazzy vibes.

Whether embracing the south or remaining at home in the east, Selektah’s beats all disperse an air of classic material; from boom baps to rumbling bass, production remains as crisp as the crackling sound coming from a newly played record. Statik Selektah (seemingly) lets the guests be themselves on all tracks featured.

XV brings his colourful character to the excellent ode to Samuel L Jackson on “Sam Jack” (also featuring Daytona and Jon Connor), the imposing tandem of Pill and REKS bring the struggle to wax on “They Don’t Know,” whilst Compton’s Dom Kennedy drifts sleepily through hazy vibes of ‘Smoke On’ alongside Strong Arm Steady.

Selektah even reaches out to Christian rap sensation Lecrae for ‘Live and Let Live’ which the southern rapper speaks to the wider Hip Hop audience about his struggles rather than the church folk many would assume he’d aim at. Guests on hand do a stellar job of maintaining the standards set by the beatsmiths impressive array of instrumentals. This is mainly due to Statik putting each artist on the production most suited to them – from Smoke DZA appearing on a dark bluesy affair to DJs Premier, Babu, Craze and DJ/rapper Scram Jones paying homage to the various eras of rap with classy performances.

Population Control is one of the few producer albums which more times than not, gets the right mix of artists to add something to their productions. As ever, the revered musician’s compositions remain consistently superior – choosing to create similar material to his previous work rather than diverging into new experimental sounds.

Although not uttering a word, Statik Selektah’s presence is ever felt, engulfing the album with fired up, inspiring beats for consumption. Loyal fans won’t be deterred by the albums lengthy 19-track duration, but newcomers may feel Population Control could have closed five tracks earlier. Commercial Hip Hop may be powered on super producers and mass appealing beats but Selektah’s spectrum of tried and tested beats reminds all that there is still much life in the old ways of the art.

Statik Selektah – Population Control
Released: October 24, 2011
Label: Showoff/Duck Down
Buy: iTunes US / Amazon US / Amazon UK

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