My first reaction when the pointy stick touched down on this New Zealand posse's 2004 debut was 'oh, no, here we go' because it's another of those albums I bought when I started doing production for a local hip hop MC. Fast Crew and my band had a similar line-up and were using much the same techniques to create our beats.
On the first listen through (it had been a while), I thought there were some great catchy tracks highlighting the machine-gun raps of Kid Deft and, despite myself, I was actually enjoying it. But listening to the album through for a second time, there was no doubt it has dated and on top of this, the synth bass lines just started to aggravate me. The production is polished, it also comes out sounding fairly bland. And while I don't doubt his chops, I was struck by the obvious Eminem influence in the Kid's raps.
Fast Crew lived up to their name, rising up pretty quickly and disappearing just as quick. I think if they'd made some different choices for singles, as some of the album tracks (such as Don't Speak My Name) are much stronger, they might have lasted longer. And while the big hit single I Got is a great party track (as is Oops My Bad) and Suburban Streets has a nice summery feel about it, the rest is, well, pretty average.
VERDICT: TURN IT DOWN
I was steeling myself for someone shouting at me and it didn't happen. In fact, I Got is going on the gym workout playlist. There are a bunch of tracks on there that are really great, although some got a bit same-y. Whoever told them to open with Set the Record Straight (I know it's the title track) has rocks in their head (YourZ sez: oh, yeah, I agree completely). You gotta open with the killer on your debut album, right?
Anyway, these guys are fun, their raps are fast and smart, they're well worth a listen. This is going to annoy YourZ but when I was listenng to it I thought - this is what he could have done his band if they'd had some more cash for studio time. They were doing the same thing at the same time, using the same dreamy girl voice to lighten the rap, getting the rapper to sing... all of this, honey, YOU did. But they got a gold record (OK, in New Zealand, whoopee) and you guys didn't. What happened? Did you guys overthink it? Maybe you should have just marketed yourselves as the Aussie Fast Crew and got while the getting was good... (YourZ sez: While I could probably point out that we weren't sycophantic or cool enough for the local hip hop community, which is true, I think it was probably more a case of losing a great, committed vocalist and musician and then having all sorts of trouble finding a replacement).
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
For more information: http://www.myspace.com/fastcrew