Fuckaintro. I’m definitely not super happy with this mixtape, but I’m not too mad at it either, because, after all, it’s just a mixtape. Not a classic mixtape, but one that managed to pleasantly surprise me many times. Most DJs take the something-for-everyone approach when choosing artists to feature on their mixtapes, so I know not to come in looking for consistency. Tony Touch’s picks mostly centered on the 90s-00s NYC scene, but I still question many of the choices. So the most that I can hope for is that at least a few songs will be fun to play for a little while, and Piece Maker 3 definitely meets that low bar.
My favorite song is The Lox’s Bars. It shows that they can still rock mixtapes like they got released from Bad Boy last week, which is amazing considering how long ago that event actually happened. I always have fun trying to decide who had the best verse when these three appear together. This time, I think Sheek’s delivery wins it for me.
Unlike Sheek, Black Thought’s verse on Thought Process’ simple but head-knodding beat is good on paper but just doesn’t do much for me. The two elements don’t mesh well, to the point that it sounds like Thought recorded once then got rushed out of the studio and on to more important stuff. A similar mesh failure is Prodigy’s Street Corner. It has a good beat that could’ve come from Mobb Deep’s classic The Infamous album, but the mix ruins things. P is way louder than the beat, making the song sound like a cheap bootleg.
Surprisingly good is Papoose (yup, the guy I was shitting on a few posts back), on Brooklyn’s The Borough. Most of his verse rhymes off the same sound, which could get old, but the fact that it’s a multisyllabic rhyme made it very compelling. Alternatively, the less said about Uncle Murda’s verse, the better. Ah well, you win some, you lose some.
While the above songs range from middling to good, there are some definite stinkers. Xzibit tried his best but couldn’t rescue VIP from Too Short’s HORRIBLE verse. Who decided to have Too Short rhyme about anything other than sex?! Battle rhymes are definitely not for him! Not as bad, but still very boring, is the Wu-Tang and JD Era song Unorthodox.
See? Like most mixtapes, Piece Maker 3 is the definition of hit or miss. A lot of could-be good songs are marred by bad mixing, wack rappers, good rappers who lack enthusiasm, and/or weak instrumentals. These are all normal mixtape problems that would easily be forgiven back in 2001. Back then, mixtapes were the only new music release method outside of albums. But nowadays, artists can “leak” their own songs to popular music sites, and release “street albums” that are actually full albums minus some polish and label-provided marketing money. In today’s era, a mixtape like Piece Maker 3, with its extra helping of shoddy songs, is obsolete. Statik Selektah made Extended Play better by directly involving himself in the music making process. Without some similar helping hand, Piece Maker ended up being something that I had fun with it, but is ultimately disposable.