Label: Fat Beats/Razor & Tie
WorkNameSort: Many Styles
Although the novelty of turntablism has worn off a bit, the movement -- though still resolutely underground Ðhas maintained its artistry and grown creatively in ways that rap as a genre only wishes it has. This three-strong group of San Francisco vinyl cut-ups -- Vinroc, Apollo and Shortkut -- combine the frenetic collagism of deck antics with a strong sense of rap purism. What emerges is an avant-garde party. "Many Styles" weaves in and out of old school and underground mindsets, featuring guest shots from a strong clutch of compadres like Mystic, Black Thought, Roc Raida, Talib Kweli, Zion I and the almighty (and underappreciated) Planet Asia. Unfortunately, though the Triple Threat DJ's are a formidable presence in a live environment, they chose for "Many Styles" to yield much of the sound to in-studio production, rather than on-the-fly mixing. Certainly, the album is drenched in live scratching, and the overall vibe -- especially on hot cuts like the Mystic-featuring "On and On" -- comes off like a block party. If Triple Threat would have actually cut the record live (a difficult feat, I'm sure), the effect would have been that much more intense.