Speakin Upon A Million (Jus' Family Records)
By: David Patsko
In hip-hop, as in any other musical genre, consistency is what one and all strive for. However, it's not always possible to consistently put out album after album of solid, quality material and please both the veteran and rookie listener. Amazingly though, Cool Nutz seems to have no problem doing exactly that. Speakin Upon A Million, his third solo effort, is another no-holds barred tour of Portland and northwestern hip-hop--with the tour being conducted by the most succesful act on the independent Jus' Family Records: Cool Nutz.
Leading off is the intro track "Put That In", which then leads into "Spread Love". "Spread Love" has one of the dopest beats I have heard all year and Cool Nutz recants tales of how he represents for his closest friends and family and tells how they get down. Cool Nutz raps "Spread love to all y'all, with intent to build. Got us feuding over this rappin like it's Hamburger Hill, what's the deal? I live my life and keep it real. Keep my pieces on the board, write more shit to record." Next is "Late Night Licks", a track that deals with Cool Nutz's quest for riches and how he goes about getting them. Moreover, mounting the pulpit like a true ghetto preacher, Cool Nutz speaks "You can make ten g's and barely crack the surface, you're taking penitentiary chances and really got no purpose. Life's a three-ring circus, but I'm tamin' the lions, watchin' these thugs keep talkin and seein' these thugs keep dyin'." Then, "Eyez On Prize" features Cool Nutz and Bosko spinning paper-chasing yarns and discussing the difficulties and stresses involved within. Skipping forward a few tracks, "Put Em Up" sees Cool Nutz hooking up with labelmates G-Ism for a funky call to all thugs to put their guns up if they're feeling these young brothers from the City of Roses.
The highlight of the CD, though, is undoubtedly "Speakmise"--which features DJ Wicked coming through with Cool Nutz on a funky, dope beat. Cool Nutz does nothing but spit pure, unadulterated wisdom and experience on this track, leaving no topic uncovered. Cool Nutz offers, "My diction, extensive and your short form. I got cocaine rhymes to ease your mind. Rhymes about crime and house snitches drop dimes and penitentiary raps just to pass the time. No way to compare your wack raps to mine, raps of late-night licks and a dope track grind." He then boasts, "whether rain, snow or sleet, I run a track meet. While these clowns keep lookin', I get to bookin'. Set trends in the 'P', represent it properly, lackluster MC's spit the gift sloppily." "Speakmise" is replete with boasts, brags, warnings, advice and spreading love. Following "Speakmise" is a short interlude, which is followed up by "Street Science"--a collaboration with Bleek and Maniac Lok. "Street Science" has one of the dopest beats on the CD and it also features three dope verses dealing with each rapper's lab experiments in the subject of street science. Skipping forward just a bit, the listener arrives at the deeply soul-searching "Keep My Soul"; an effort by Bosko, Ray Ray and Cool Nutz. After a short interlude, Bosko joins Cool Nutz on the remix to "What I'm About". "What I'm About" was a track on Cool Nutz previous opus Harsh Game, and I personally feel that the remix may be even better than the original. The hardest and most thuggish track on the CD could possibly be "90 Proof"--a self-righteous, hard-edged offering that features the funkiest and dopest beat on Speakin Upon A Million. "Tech Support" is the next offering; and following that, is a ten-minute long mass collaboration called "Roll Call". "Roll Call" features BA from 3XCrazy fame, Bosko, L Profound, Kenny Mack, Mr. Dog, Young Randall, Nyquil, Ray Ray, Maniac Lok, Al. C, Mackin Rob, Michael Crenshaw, HTK, J Dee, Pete Miser and Libretto. The idea of a ten-minute collaboration with the same beat seems a bit daunting at first, but the artists keep things funky and fresh with dope lyrics and varying styles and the beat is funky and original enough to make one want to listen to it for ten minutes. A ten minute song with 17 individuals hooking up for ghetto poetry, simply fantastic.
Tracks that I haven't mentioned are the four interludes, "Pop My Whip", "Flamboast" and "For The Ladies"--but that's not to say that the songs are wack, merely a small incorporation of personal preference and what I found most self-satisfying.
In summary, Speakin Upon A Million immediately catches the listener's attention and holds it throughout--leaving the lucky individual completely satisfied at the end. The increased level of maturity, wisdom and experience that Cool Nutz displays on his latest release, Speakin Upon A Million, is nothing short of extraordinary. After having the wonderful honor of hearing Harsh Game, one would expect Cool Nutz to come back with more braggardly tales of thuggishness with plenty of real life tales and words of wisdom thrown in. While that may be true, what Cool Nutz thankfully avoided was putting out another album exactly like Harsh Game; and instead, he gives the listener different sounds, topics and messages. Once again, Cool Nutz bombards the listener with wisdom sprinkled sermons and does his hometown of Portland, Oregon proud.
If you're interested in Cool Nutz, where to get a copy of Speakin Upon A Million, or want more information on Jus' Family Records, you can obtain said information here:
Jus Family Records
2718 SW Kelly Suite 316
Portland, OR 97201