“The Iller Sessions” arrived in a plain brown envelope, with no press information. The websites printed on the album aren’t helpful either. What the hell is this? I know Z-Trip; he’s a fantastic remixer/blend DJ who did a great version of the Jackson Five’s “I Want You Back” several years ago. But here, he’s assembled some of the greatest under-the-bubble names of the 1990s, providing brand new cuts by the likes of Digital Underground, Jurassic 5, The Black Sheep, DMC (of Run DMC), Rasco, Supernatural . . . The list goes on.
Some key tracks are the album opener, “At the Party,” a shout-out party jam by Macklemore, an artist with a steady flow who, I confess, I’ve never of before.
Rasco spits fire, as usual, on the gangsta-gettin-money cut, “Let’s Get It.” “I get big bags, You get one gram/Your shit is off beat/I came to sweep cats right off they own street.” It’s not like
you’ve never heard Rasco drop lyrics like these before, but he does it so well. A surprise for me was “Reminisce,” by Tru Fam. I’ve never been a big fan of back-in-the-day songs, but Tru manages to make this one count in a modern way: “Losing your life for a street corner is not funny/The neighborhood I thought was mine, they came and snatched from me/Point the finger at yourself and how you act homie/They stole the love but I demand they give it back to me.”
Not every track is great. Digital Underground haven’t been very good in a very long time. But there’s more wheat than chaff here, and clocking in a 72 minutes, you can afford a few clunkers.
And an old Z-Trip remix:
BONUS REVIEW: THE SHAKY HANDS
Before I close this post, I thought I’d name-drop a pretty cool new release by The Shaky Hands titled “Lunglight.” It comes out on November 10, and it’s got some interesting stuff on it. I can’t say it seems fully formed to me, but there’s enough indie rocking going on to satisfy, that’s for sure.