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Clearing the Field

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Album Review

Bay Area underground rap hero Motion Man, known as a regular on the Wake up Show and as a rhyming partner of Kool Keith, delivers an album of grand proportions with Clearing the Field. With a refreshing and wholly original style on the mic, Motion Man proves that uniqueness in rap can still be obtained without veering into other genres. Beats provided by KutMasta Kurt are presented from the perspective of a seasoned DJ, with especially hard drum kicks and frequent sample stabs leading the charge. His use of the opening line from Don Drummond's ska classic "Man in the Streets" to enhance "Hold Up," a song that also features the antics of Biz Markie, is very characteristic of KutMasta Kurt's in-your-face production style. Other guest appearances by the likes of Kool Keith and LC on "We Work Styles," Planet Asia on "Face 2 Face," and E-40 on "Reason 2 Panic" really help elevate the album into the realm of an overlooked classic. Indeed, hearing E-40 effectively spit lyrics over what many would consider to be a traditional backpacker beat is something that should surprise many of his naysayers. But lest you forget the extreme talents of Motion Man, an artist with so much personality that he should be dubbed as the black Eminem. Tracks such as "Straight Flowin' on Em," "Clearing the Field," "Loose Cannon," and "Come on Y'all" are so filled with clever wordplay and punch lines that Motion Man could easily be considered a comedian as well as an MC. On his Too Short appreciation track called "Beotches," he even does an impressive job rhyming in Spanglish. And, unlike those found on so many other rap albums, his skits and interludes are actually hilarious. All in all, Clearing the Field is an album that presents everything that is right about West Coast hip-hop.


Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s

A rapper since the '80s, Motion Man has dozens of highlight features, though few of them have appeared on his own records. While Kool Keith fans know him for his tracks on three of Keith's LPs (Black Elvis, Sex Style, First Come, First Served) and fans of The Wake up Show would recognize his rhymes in a flash, his best-known track of all, "The Terrorist," was done under the heading of Russian mixer/producer DJ Vadim. He also guested for several tracks on the KutMasta Kurt record Masters of Illusion,...
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Clearing the Field, Motion Man
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