Declaime – “In the Beginning 3” review

This is the 14th full-length album from Oxnard veteran Declaime. Debuting on “WLIX” off Tha Alkaholiks’ sophomore album Coast II Coast in 1995, it wouldn’t be until 2001 when Dudley Perkins started putting out albums under his own name by dropping Andsoitisaid. But coming fresh off LMD’s long-awaited debut Flying High last summer, he’s linking back up with Madlib for the 3rd installment in the ongoing In the Beginning series where the 2 dig up some of their earliest & previously unreleased work together.

“Ill Minded” is a bit of a hazy opener with Declaime talking about verbally abusing those who dare step up to him whereas “Laff Now Cry Later” goes into more boom bap turf advising people that your day will come sooner or later. The cassette demo version of the “Andsoitisaid” title track is interesting to hear considering the version we got 8 years later has a different beat & is a little bit longer just before Roc C tags along for the lo-fi “Come with the Ill Grammar” advising to have some dope ass syntax when speaking to them.

The remix of “Why Do We Go Out Like That?” is cool even though I personally prefer the version we have on [the Lootpack’s rarities compilation The Lost Tapes leading into “Too Much Clout” returning to the boom bap flexing his lyrical prowess. God’s Gift’s verse on the battle rap-themed “12th Floor” is just ok with the sounds of ocean waves in the beat gives it a bit of a calm atmosphere prior to the raw sounding “Next Episode” with Christopher McCray showing y’all how they move it. “Ass Will Get Dropped” with M.E.D. finds both Oxnard emcees letting y’all know what’ll happen whenever C.D.P. pulls up to your spot over a mellow instrumental & prior to the outro beat skit, we’re treated to the original version of “Rollem Right” off Dudley’s debut EP Illmindmuzik as the official closer.

If you’ve been keeping up with the In the Beginning series, you should already know what you’re gonna be getting yourself into & I don’t mean that in a bad way because all 3 installments thus far are must-listens for any hardcore Madlib fan. His production pulls from funk, jazz, soul & psychedelia with Declaime continuing to pay homage to the city that he came from by further presenting his early days on the mic. However, one of the biggest criticisms I have is that I feel that the intros to 6 of the 11 actual songs we get here are kind of annoying especially since the track listing is prominently intro & song back to back.

Score: 3.5/5

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LMD – “Flying High” review

LMD is a supergroup from California consisting of LMNO, M.E.D. & Declaime. One of whom initially saw success as a member of the Visionaries & the other 2 being childhood friends/longtime collaborators with Oxnard DJ/producer/emcee Madlib. The trio initially formed in the fall of 2010 but now a little over a decade later, they’re finally coming together for a full-length debut with The Beat Konducta behind the boards from top to bottom.

After the intro, the title track with some upbeat synthesizers & the trio delivering that feel good shit lyrically whereas “Advice” takes a dreamier route instrumentally as they send a heartfelt message about the fucked up music industry. “Pop Fly” is a rugged boom bap infused battle rap cut for all the battle rap heads out there, but then Fly Anakin tags along for the jazzy yet soulful “Kool” boasting how fly they all are.

“The Cypher” has a bit of a Bollywood influence to the beat as LMD giving us a fitting jam for weed smokers like myself & after the first skit, “Super” returns to a more dreamier aesthetic to spit some braggadocio just before the 80-second “Steppers” delivers a groovy dance anthem with some phenomenal back & forth delivery from the trio. The song “Birthday” has a funkier flare to it vividly describing having shitty born days & after the final skit, the penultimate track “High Skates” embraces a more electronic sound encouraging to get the bread. “Duwop” though is a grand closer to the album expressing their passion for music.

Even though the album got pushed back a handful of delays throughout the summer, Flying High was much worth it as a fan of all 3 members of LMD & someone who ranks Madlib as one their top 10 producers of all-time. The Bad Kid himself sticks to his uniquely signature sound behind the boards with LMNO, M.E.D. & Declaime coming through with an interesting chemistry.

Score: 4/5

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Declaime – “In the Beginning 2” review

This is the 13th full-length album from Oxnard veteran Declaime. Debuting on “WLIX” off Tha Alkaholiks’ sophomore album Coast II Coast in 1995, it wouldn’t be until 2001 when Dudley Perkins started putting out albums under his own name by dropping Andsoitisaid. But ahead of LMD’s long-awaited debut Flying High next weekend, he’s linking back up with childhood friend/longtime collaborator Madlib for a sequel to last summer’s In the Beginning.

“2MC ornot 2MC?” is an orchestral boom bap opener asking the titular question whereas “Bandwagon” takes a dustier route talking about how there’s more to him on the mic. The demo version of “WLIX” is something fresh for all the hardcore fans who’ve never heard it before & after the “Sensei Sound” interlude, “WunTwo” returns to the boom bap so he can flex his pen-game.

Meanwhile on “As I Get Wild”, we have Declaime taking a rawer route challenging anyone to step up to him lyrically just before “Temporary Rhyme Speech” comes through with a low-fi Crate Diggas Palace posse cut. “Scarce Compliments” weaves some piano embellishments into the fold talking about knowing what he’s grateful for, but then “Enjoy Your Stay” ruggedly calling God’s revelation his only source of inspiration. And prior to the outro, Wildchild tags along for the hypnotic closer “Signs” talking about how it’s all in the mind.

Although I prefer the predecessor a tad bit more, I’d still say that this whole In the Beginning series is very intriguing & are must-listens for any hardcore fan. Hearing the vintage production & cutthroat lyricism presented throughout even in 2022 continues to show how far both Declaime & Madlib have come in the last 3 decades or so. Could we get a 3rd installment next summer? Only time will tell.

Score: 3.5/5

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Declaime – “In the Beginning” review

This is the 11th full-length album from Oxnard veteran Declaime. Debuting on “WLIX” off Tha Alkaholiks’ sophomore album Coast II Coast in 1995, it wouldn’t be until 2001 when Dudley Perkins started putting out albums under his own name by dropping Andsoitisaid. Last we heard from him was in 2017 when he released Young Spirit but as the 4 year anniversary of that album approaches next month, dude is unearthing 13 joints that were recorded with longtime collaborator Madlib from 1993-1996 & putting them out to the public in the form of In the Beginning.

“Enuff” kicks things off with Declaime & even Madlib himself jump on top of some bass licks & handclaps talking about not letting stress wound, but then “One on One” works in a lo-fi beat & battle rap lyricism. The pair later go into boom bap territory on “Cool Ways” saying he’ll never slip up whereas “2 to da Head” has these dusty drums & what sound like Seagull noises addressing the days we’re living in.

Meanwhile on “Madman”, we have Dudley giving us a rowdy look at someone who’s insane before diving into the “Declaime Speaks” interlude as well as the fuzzy “Black” jabbing at the racist system. “Wake Up” is yet another boom bap cut themed around battle rap while “Out Like Dat” has these vinyl cracklings throughout it’s 2 minute run & Declaime saying there’s no turning back when you hit the street.

After the “Meltdown” interlude, the track “All Over the World” with M.E.D. serves as a funky crowd-mover propping up both the West & the East while the last actual song on the album “2 MC ‘95” is a keyboard-laced take on the Hamlet quote “To be or not to be”. Then there’s “Outrose”, which serves as a 2-minute instrumental piece to finish the album off.

Although the material In the Beginning presents to us was recorded 25-28 years ago, it still sounds really good now & that shouldn’t come a surprise given how well these guys have bounced off each other in the past. Madlib’s production is much more rawer on here & the topics that Declaime covers range from social commentary to braggadocio.

Score: 4/5