Though the title might indicate otherwise, Statik Selektah’s third album, 100 Proof: The Hangover, is about more than just poppin’ bottles. Instead, the producer/DJ uses his latest project to give a collection of MCs he frequently collaborates with the opportunity to rap about things they go through everyday when the party stops. Coupled with Statik’s solid sample-laden production efforts, those ordinary things often produce extraordinary results.
On the album’s hopeful lead single, “So Close So Far,” Bun B and Wale spit about car notes, credit and foreclosures as they picture the perfect place to live. Meanwhile, Freeway and Red Café lament about doing dirt to survive under the cloak of darkness on the frenzied “Night People,” while M.O.P.’s Lil Fame uses the aptly-titled “Critically Acclaimed” to question other rappers’ intentions.
At times, though, The Hangover’s loose concept makes it feel like one. In particular, “Fake Love (Yes Men),” featuring underground artists Reks, Kali, Termanology and Good Brotha. Similarly, Souls of Mischief’s coming-of-age tales on “Laughin’” sound out of place next to the reality raps showcased elsewhere. But for every hiccup, there are shining moments like Smif-N-Wessun’s incredibly dark “Follow We” or the soulful “The Thrill Is Gone,” featuring Styles P and Talib Kweli. So while some of the guest spots ultimately reveal that 100 Proof might not be the strongest stuff on the shelf, there’s still more than enough here to give it a shot or two. —Chris Yuscavage