Slick comes out strong, there is no doubt about it. The authoritative “Creased Up” comes through as a fairly Spartan track, with the backing beat that Slick is flowing over not really doing much besides playing at the faintest of registers. What is a definite plus about Slick’s style is that individuals can decipher exactly what ey is saying easily; this is not because of a lack of lingo but Slick has a wonderfully enunciated style that makes the messages connect much better than in other cases.
The inclusion of a second set of vocals during “If I Die Tonight” really gives the track a split chronology; the style of Slick during the track really screams Tupac more than anything, while the second set of vocals ties the track to a few years after that style of gangster rap. Thus, the track is gangster, but also has the dance/pop mentality of Puff Daddy and other artists of eir ilk. What has to be the strongest feature of “Elements of the Game” is the amount of collaborations that are done on the disc. More so than just the numbers of collaborations has to be the quality of these collaborations; individuals go in the studio not just to put a few words on a track but contribute meaningful segments to the track. The disc does have a few bald spots, first becoming prominent during “Put Ya Tops Down”; the track has a nice hook but there is not enough in the way of innovation and modification to it to really merit four minutes of music. “We Po’” has the opposite problem from “Put Ya top Down’; in this track, there is more than enough differentiation in Slick’s flow but nothing resembling a hook to keep individuals listening.
When there are a host of different individuals throwing down during a track, the overall quality of the disc seems to increase. There might be some tension present that forces everyone present to be on their toes to come up with the best lines they can, but the tracks that have collaborators are miles beyond those that are primarily (or only) Slick-based. At seventy minutes, there is more than enough material for individuals to get into; there is also a lack of skits, which is a plus. The material here is hit or miss (more hit than miss), and the dizzying heights found on the CD are only matched by the tracks that do not really excite. For added fun, check out the Twista-like speed of the flow on “Throw Them Thangz Up”.
Top Tracks: Throw Them Thangz Up, If I Die Tonight
Slick – Elements of the Game / 2005 First Cut / 19 Tracks / http://www.firstkut.com / Reviewed 16 December 2005