Veteran Brooklyn, NY emcee Teflon was known in the late 90s as part of M.O.P.’s First Family collective and for his distinctively gruff vocals and street-savvy rhymes. After many singles and collaborations, he stepped away from the industry and now he breaks his hiatus with the brand new album 2 Sides To Every Story. The 14-track body of work sees him working with two of hip-hop’s finest producers and his closest collaborators, DJ Premier and Jazimoto, who split production duties down the middle. The result is a blitzkrieg of ferocious bars and hard-hitting beats from the man himself. He holds it down on all the tracks save a couple featuring his brethren M.O.P and Benny The Butcher.
“Out the Gate” is a pure verbal assault on wax as Teflon lunges forward with the opening salvo with lines like “Straight out the gate, I’m a muthafucking ape/ make no mistake, the boy’s about to escape”. The track has that quintessential NY sound with punchy drums, scenic samples and Preem working the vocal scratches to tie it all together. This is followed by the single “Contraband”. The track made up of menacing strings, heavy bass-laden drums, and classic vocal scratches by Preem exudes pure cinematic vibes that fit Teflon’s commanding vocals. Teflon is in his element as expected and details the dynamics of his life in his younger years while giving props to everyone on the grind. In the same spell, he throws a middle finger to the system hellbent on holding back the everyday man. “4 Tha Love” is an ode to the streets and the many tales of the city’s underbelly. From the murders, drug dealing, paper chasing and scrambling, Teflon takes us on a gritty journey that covers it all. Teflon is as candid as they come in his usual spirit and doesn’t sugarcoat his words for anyone. The record is definitely not for the fainthearted.
Watch the video for “Contraband” below
“It is What It Is” features Jazimoto on the boards and MOP’s Lil Fame who helps out on the hook. The record dwells on fake friends and snakes who try to infiltrate the circle, but Teflon does not have it. He surgically cuts them off with lines like “Look at the clowns putting fake smiles on me/Ain’t been down, you know the nigga sound phoney/Wasn’t around when I was down and lonely”, reminding them of who they really are. “Life in the FEDS” makes use of a groovy blaxploitation guitar riff and crunchy drum break and once again Teflon gets into story mode detailing a situation where one is between the rock and a hard place with no escape route.
Watch the visuals for “Life in the FEDS” below.
The interlude “some of the fellas on the block” takes us back to the classic street cypher where emcees just come through to display their skills and it’s a little reminder of their love for the culture in an unadulterated form. “Know Our Way Around” is an anthemic tune solidifying Teflon’s street cred and status as an elder statesman who unfortunately never got his dues. This is followed by “No Fake Love”, a previously released single that captures Teflon’s rambunctious delivery and hard-hitting lyrics, delivered over a solid neck-snapping anthemic soundscape provided by Jazimoto while DJ Eclipse helps out on the cuts with an excellent sampling of Teflon’s brother’s in arms, the legendary M.O.P, and other rap legends such as Prodigy. “Baby” features Jazimoto on the boards and I-Fresh on the chorus. The piano-driven beat is underpinned by Teflon’s edgy bravado raps that we all grew up on.
Watch the video for “No Fake Love” below.
“Hostile Takeover” has Benny The Butcher on the vocal assist and is a scenic excursion into the spot and the many characters who are making moves with eyes on their backs because nothing is promised or certain. The title speaks for itself as Teflon and Benny pull out the big guns and take over the proverbial spot with little to no pushback. “how it was” is another interlude about how different the past was from the present. It’s far from discrediting the new cats but rather a reminder of how emcees in the past just wanted to get on and represent their block as opposed to trying to get a hit in this age of digital streams.
The project closes out with “The Thoro Side” and “Life in The FEDS remix”. “The Thoro Side” reunites Teflon and his First family duo M.O.P and it’s only right for Preem to be on the boards. The result is what exactly we expect, hard-hitting cinematic beats with rugged, face-slapping bars from the trio. It’s definitely a long-awaited reunion if you asked me. “Life in The FEDS remix” has a whole different feel with its cinematic and soulful textures and a nice way to close things out.
Visit Coalmine’s online store to pre-order 2STES on vinyl and CD. A blue and purple whirlpool edition is available now for pre-order exclusively through Get On Down, along with a silver edition via RRC Music. Both are limited to just 150 units each. A double-sided slipmat bundle is also available in both the classic black and Get On Down edition, which features Teflon’s 420 Music logo emblazoned on one side, with an image of a “non-stick” teflon pan branded with Coalmine’s logo on the other.
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