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Tricka Technology

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Album Review

Flipping faders and destroying decks in their quest for a good time, the two-man production/DJ team of A Skillz and Krafty Kuts follow Kool Keith's wisdom to keep it simple — and unbelievably hooky — on their production debut, Tricka Technology. Poised halfway between old school and party rap, the record may look back instead of forging ahead, but the duo recruited a crew of great rappers to focus on. TC Izlam is up first, leading the high-stepping title track and at the same time preaching knowledge of self, while Real Elements follows with "Simple Things," bemoaning the passing of an era with the lines, "Whatever happened to rapping and standing for what you believe in/MCs became famous not because they were beefin'...I miss those cheap videos and live shows where MCs from any coast did collabos." Not the most ambitious of targets, to be sure, and the backing tracks — pure magic on first listen — lose their freshness after a play or two. The duo's major coup, landing Kurtis Blow to remake "The Breaks" (for "Gimme the Breaks"), is at best unnecessary, but it's at least as infectious as the original. There are plenty more familiar strains where that one came from; Tricka Technology is quite nearly shameless in its pillaging of classic breaks, hooks, and sounds of the past. Still, while they may have been reaching for Grandmaster Flash and only gotten as far as a sub-Jurassic 5, in a hip-hop climate nearly bereft of originality, A Skillz & Krafty Kuts' gloss on classic old school is hardly a crime.

Tricka Technology, A. Skillz
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