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Statik Selektah
Spell My Name Right: The Album

Following in the footsteps of countless successful DJs before him, Statik Selektah made his name by constantly staying on his grind. After hosting such notable mixtapes as Nas’ The Prophecy and G-Unit’s The Empire Strikes Back, the Massachusetts jock began culling talent of his own with underground hero Termanology. Stepping further into the spotlight, Statik releases his first full-length, Spell My Name Right: The Album, through his Showoff Records imprint.

Producing the project in its entirety, Statik gathers a wide array of MCs to bless his debut. Styles P, Q-Tip and Termanology play hot potato with the mic on the bluesy opener, “Stop, Look and Listen.” Similarly, Joell Ortiz, Kool G Rap and Sheek Louch dive headfirst into the thumpin’ score for “6 in the Morning.” But it’s the new Philly anthem “What Would You Do!?” that contains some of the most potent bombs, as an energetic Freeway proclaims, “The new KRS, criminal minded, I am possessin’ the tool/I am possessed by the spirits of Langston Hughes/A true pioneer, I am here, free at last, chart climbin’/For those that thought rappin’ was a pastime, it’s perfect timing.”

Attempting to please both the street-hop contingent and the hip-hop purists, Statik tilts his sound toward the nostalgic, which winds up being a hit-or-miss affair. His remake of N.W.A’s 1989 classic “Express Yourself” is admirable but not as memorable as the original. Then there’s the humdrum “Punch Out,” where Big Shug talks greazy over a sample of the theme song from Mike Tyson’s vintage video game.

While the sonic flashback works better on the Sister Nancy–sampling “Bam Bam,” featuring Red Café, Mims and Term, Statik’s penchant for jazzy production is better served by more-melodic music. In fact, he manages to make gruff MCs like Uncle Murda and M.O.P.’s Lil’ Fame sound more poetic on “G-Shit” and “The Good Life (Give It Up),” respectively. If he keeps that up, Statik’s name is one people won’t soon forget.—KONATE PRIMUS

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