DJ Premier and Bumpy Knuckles really need no introduction, as both have been in the hip-hop game for close to three decades years. They have collaborated before, on Gang Starr tracks and on Bumpy’s solo release, but The KoleXXXion is the first official full-length offering from these two veterans. The DJ/MC partnership is as old as hip-hop itself, and with The KoleXXXion, Premo and Bumpy Knucks look to take it back to the essence, with the gritty, boom bap sound that underground heads cherish.
As the title implies, this project is a collection of new tracks and some previously released collaborations between the two, such as “My Thoughts,” “P.A.I.N.E.,” “D’Lah,” “The Gang Starr Bus” and the remix to “Turn Up the Mics.” Interestingly, the majority of the beats used on the album, including “B.A.P. (Bumpy And Premier)” and “wEaRe aT WaR,” were beats rejected by other artists like Jay-Z and Immortal Technique, respectively. Taking that into account, the production on the The Kolexxxion leaves the listener wondering what the artists that rejected these beats were thinking, as Premier sounds as refined as ever. In fact, the release features some of the better Premo sounds in a while, with tracks of note such as “Shake The Room,” “More Levels” and “The Key.” Premier is in typical classic DJ form, lacing each track with pinpoint cuts.
The strength of The KoleXXXion lies in the diversity of the production. Tracks such as “EyEnEvErPuTmY4cUsAwAy,” “The Life,” “FYPAU” and “GrEaTnEsS” are a slight departure from the Premier bells and drums that listeners have gotten used to. In this case, change is a good thing.
Lyrically, Bumpy Knuckles brings a collection of battle rhymes and ass-kicking to the mic, as he and Premier continue to work together well. While the track “OwNiT” misses, it’s picked up by the well crafted look into life on the Gang Starr tour, “The Gang Starr Bus” and “Word Iz Born,” the fantastic dedication to fallen comrade HeadQCourterz. The KoleXXXion is some uncut raw from two of rap’s revered talents. Hip-hop heads can add it to their KoleXXXion. —Nene Wallace Reed