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"Enter The Meatmarket" was released in 1997 as the second album from the House producer Armand Van Helden. The New Yorker went for something with a heavier Hip Hop feel than the last in order to push for a sound which was found in his first record, but wasn't as prominent as he was going for a project with an Old School House-inspired sound. It's known for its extensive sampling of classic Hip Hop (which at the time was yet to receive such attention and praise).
1. "Push'em Up"
The album is set off in a big way as we're drawn right into the record with a straight-up Hip Hop track done in the contemporary East Coast style. It features a sample of Bob James "Take Me To The Mardi Gras" and draws people in from the very moment it gets underway as we find just how well the producer is able to manipulate this, a cut from Wu-Tang Clan and also Onyx's "Slam" altogether without confusion.
2. "Hot Butter"
This track works from a vocal snippet from Q-Tip running through the track. I felt that it was a very strong backing to the tune and it takes the listeners in before a number of other things are piled into it (including stuff from Gang Starr, Eric B. & Rakim and James Brown) in order to show just how far he's going. Van Helden shows his musical knowledge and just how well he's able to mash together a number of clips to make even better results.
The Rugged All-Stars help out on the beats for this one and it seems that they know exactly what the producer's looking for with this release as he takes us further down the Wu-Tang route in order to give things a very gritty feel and one which will appeal direct towards those who are much more into their underground material than what they are with more commercial Hip Hop from around this time.
4. "Daaboodaa Munks"
The title of this one is jacked directly from Nas's "It Ain't Hard To Tell". Taking people right back to the artist's debut album (although he was only two albums deep by this point) is a great way to take things as its likely to cause quite a reaction and it makes for a fierce sound that few others would have been able to compete with at the time makes this for another quality track that you shouldn't miss out on.
5. "Crooklyn Anthem"
DJ Sizzahandz helps out for this one and I thought that he did well to give things a heavy Old School feel to it as he draws people's attention right back to the early eighties Hip Hop sound when it was all about the party Rap where everything was all about having fun and there was little more to it. This one has a lot of energy and is bound to excite many in what it does as they keep this Turntablist work flowing on.
We suddenly get a massive change to the direction of the music here as this one opens up as a funky, Disco-House track. I thought that it was a very nice mix as together with this, he draws a snippet from the Lords of the Underground's "Chief Rocka" and keeps things rolling on in the direction heard mostly with his 1994 debut. The track is heavy, but I fear it may become annoy to some.
7. "Hood Movie Stars"
This track takes the opening two lines of Nas's "Escobar '97" and simply loops it over and over again. I thought that it was a killer break and one that you couldn't really mess with in spite of its simplicity and how the beatmaker simply throws down any old Hip Hop beat over the back of it to prop it up. I thought that it was amongst the best that the record had to offer and stood out significantly amongst what's found on the album.
8. "Word Up Doc"
With this track we find that Armand Van Helden wishes to take things a bit further back in time and so he feels it necessary to go back to the likes of The Fat Boys, The Sugarhill Gang and Dana Dane in order to do this. What the producer does here is great as he takes from more commercially-friendly Hip Hop cuts from back in the day and brings them up in a throwback setting. There's even room for "Hey DJ" to top it all off for a great mash-up of Old School hits.
9. "This Is It!"
This cut has him kicking more heavy material that Hip Hop fans are bound to be excited by. Things are changed a little as here things take a bit of a funkier turn than usual, but I felt that it really added to the thing and made for another piece that enabled listeners to do more dance moves than the rest had permitted (where the 'East Coast Stomp' was all that was possible with the rest. It's set off by a little Slick Rick before it gets freaky and is one to look out for.
10. "Out of Frame"
I found that it was a little strange to see things move on towards this kind of thing after what we were given on the last one. Here they really change things up quite a bit by going out with a much colder, Gangsta Rap feel than is heard elsewhere. I thought that although this one carried many ominous connotations with it, the juxtaposition of this one with this last made it much more impactful to hear.
11. "Reservoir Dogs"
This one takes on Method Man & Redman's "How High" in addition to Run-D.M.C.'s "Beats to the Rhyme" and I felt that it made for an intense mix of contrasting time periods in Hip Hop history 9the former being the current day style of that time) but regardless of this, when listening to it now it sounds like a great mix of differing times which have gone by in a manner which seems to come together effortlessly.
12. "6 Minutes of Funk"
Funk Master Flex gets up over this track and shows support for Armand Van Helden in doing so. Together they do well to do a track which sounds to be well in-line with what was going on in Hip Hop at the time with Puff Daddy's "It's All About The Benjamins" being the main sample being used here and together with this a "...and ya don't stop" vocal cut just seems to top it all off and make it a heavy piece you wouldn't want to be without.
This is a hyped-up joint and one bound to get people excited as it takes on the same snippet that A Tribe Called Quest used, as was later taken on for The Fugees "Killing My Softly" - which is why the producer's using it himself here to show just how effect that little funky cut is and just how well it's able to transform a recording with good placing. It's a nice compromise track from him here with a few styles mashed together.
14. "Hey Yah Heh"
The final track on the album begins with a little clip taken from early on in the Hip Hop film 'Beat Street' and it sets the thing off nicely before we get into the flow of the album and are able to feel what else Armand Van Helden's got to give the people this time around. This one really thumps away in a raw way and gets people moving in the same grimy way as been felt pretty much through the rest of the thing, and is supported by a suitable KRS-One sound effect.
I thought that this was a great album from Armand Van Helden and one that I'd hope more Hip Hop fans to be aware of as it's a great piece documenting what exactly it was like to be a fan of that type of music through the mid to late nineties (in spite of the album coming out in 1997). It has a lot of energy to it and shows how he's able to pull off a straight Hip Hop release just as well as the House material.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Push 'em Up
2 Hot Butter
3 We Came To Party
5 Daaboodaa Munks
6 Crooklyn Anthems
8 Hood Movie Stars
9 Word Up Doc
10 Pulling G Spots
11 Puerto Rican Handclap
12 Out Of Frame
13 This Is It
14 Reservoir Dogs
15 6 Minutes Of Funk
17 Heh Yah Heh
18 Ballistic Funk