Since coming into the game, Rhymefest always struck me as that old school dude from the block that would battle any and everyone who wanted it. It wasn’t only because homie looked old enough to have been co-wrote one of the 10 Commandments, but because of the way the man made his music and wrote his rhymes. Son’s style exemplifies that old school hip-hop scene when everyone had their own identity and wouldn’t hesitate to bomb on anyone who challenged their square. But some question whether or not he has the ingenuity to hold down a whole project.

With The Manual, Fest continues to show and prove that he’s a student of the old school. It seems like even when he’s making a song he’s still battle rapping whoever’s listening to what he’s saying. His rhymes on “Coolness” shows a man that raps with a chip on his shoulder when he’s saying ish like, “Why when I say '80s, it looks so fresh yo? When you dress '80s you look so metro/pink glasses with the zipper jackets/Prince open booty pants, matchin’ asses/at the gay club giving out free passes/back in the day that’s what we called faggots/fast forward 2000 now that’s fashion/sucka ya miss, now I know who I am/not emotional when I pull up in the Cayenne – Porsche truck-or-a-tour-bus-for-us/pull up to the club and everybody lookin’ awe struck.” I felt him before he started talking about cars. Only thing I’m pushing is Timbos and Jordans.

Originally I thought that rhyme was directed at Charles Hamilton (they’ve been beefing lately), but nah. He saved that PunchaniggaindafaceItis feeling for “Supersonic”—he used Salt-N-Pepper’s “Supersonic” beat for this—and went in on that young man like Jeffery Dahmer (Do the knowledge on that last metaphor). He even threw a quick dart at Asher Roth on this joint. Question: Does anyone in the hood play Guitar Hero? I mean really.

And just like an old school head this man shows respect to the originals by featuring the one and only CL Smooth on the Jazz sounding “Deal’s A Deal.” He then got a lending hand from 1/4 of Brand Nubian when the OG Sadat X ripped it down on the club brawl inspirational “Think About It.” That’s not including appearances from the Queen herself, Latifah and Greg Nice.

Any questions about Rhymfest’s ingenuity was put to rest on this mixtape (and his previous projects, but fools don’t wanna recognize). His concept joints like “Pulls Me Back, “ “Memory Lane,” and “Rhymefest vs. Big Daddy Kane” where he inserted his own rhymes to counter those of Kane’s on his own classic, “Warm It Up Kane” prove that he’s built for this. And G-status that Kane battle record was genius and original enough to instill that point alone. I was cracking the f*ck up and loving it. Rhymefest got some good ish for that ass if you’re into that old school MC, and y’all know I am. I mean this is the man who once battled Eminem and said, “I’ma keep this nigga bouncing like Suge Knight checks.” I more than one way, Rhymefest truly embodies the notion of being the last of a dying breed. I just hope he continues to give the game mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before his time is up.-The Infamous O

Hottest Joint: “Pulls Me Back”

Weakest Joint: “Party 4 Free”