When you're in need of the sonic equivalent of an earthquake, the always hyper Busta Rhymes is a good man to call. Da Beatminerz did just that for "Take That," the lead single (which also features the Flipmode Squad and Vinia Mojica) from their debut collection, Brace 4 Impak, which is scheduled to arrive in stores July 31. Other guests on the album include Talib Kweli, Naughty by Nature, Pete Rock and Royce Da 5'9".
Anchored by brothers DJ Evil Dee and Mr. Walt, and rounded out by Baby Paul, Rick Black and Chocolate Ty, Da Beatminerz helped New York return to hip-hop prominence in 1993 by producing the debut album from Black Moon, Enta Da Stage. The collection contained gritty, bass-heavy instrumentation that was as dark as solitary confinement and a marked contrast to the largely pop-friendly music coming from the Big Apple at the time.
Subsequent work with everyone from the Cocoa Brovaz to Rah Digga to Next to Mark Morrison solidified the Brooklyn crew's standing as one of hip-hop's most respected beatmaking collectives.
Although they had been planning on releasing their own album for several years, Da Beatminerz decided to wait before unleashing Brace 4 Impak. "It's always been a dream of ours, but we waited for the right time to do it," Mr. Walt said. "I felt that right now is the time to do it because we needed to get our ideas together and get focused on what we wanted to bring out and present to the people. Musically, it's kind of the same stuff we've given you before, but it's a little brighter. But it's still bass-heavy.
That's our trademark and we're going to stick with it." They also stuck to a wish list when assembling the talent they hoped to feature on Brace 4 Impak. "When we came across a song we wanted to do, we thought about who would be perfect on it," Walt said. "Certain songs just fit certain people. This process generated such combinations as the Talib Kweli and Total collaboration on "The Anti-Love Movement" and the Jayo Felony and Ras Kass duet on "Bentleys & Bitches." Despite this verbal firepower, dedicated Beatminerz fans may notice the absence of most of the Boot Camp Clik on the album. While Black Moon appear with Lord Have Mercy on the cut "Devastatin' ... That's Us!" and Cocoa Brovaz are featured with Blackhearted Skavangers on "Extreme Situation," Heltah Skeltah, O.G.C. and others in the loose collective whose music Da Beatminerz had primarily produced do not make an appearance. Evil Dee said that the Minerz are working on new albums from Black Moon and the Cocoa Brovaz, and that they simply wanted to show that they could work effectively with other acts on their own album.
"This is a Beatminerz album, so we wanted to show that we didn't only have one style," he said. "We wanted to show that we could do other things than just make Boot Camp records." That becomes clear after listening to Brace 4 Impak, which also features Krumb Snatcha, David Banks and Nay Nay's "Let's Talk About It (T.R.O.Y.
Remix)," a song with a less dense feel than what fans may expect from the perpetually ominous beat work of Da Beatminerz.
"We're trying to keep the same formula but add some more things to it," DJ Evil Dee said. "Our stuff keeps getting brighter and brighter. But we've still got the gutter and the bottom there. The bottom has to be there.
That's what attracts everybody."