Ever since my initiation into what this crew is about, via M9's High Fidelity, I have yet to be disappointed with any aspect of a single one of this crews releases thus far. Their longplayer's soundscapes are by and large an ode to Boom Baps time of greatness. A supreme collection of beats either taken from, inspired by, or akin to, what many call 'The Golden Age'. But what makes all these releases stand out even more are the constant gems being dropped all over each release. The perils of Gang warfare, terrorism, the 9 to 5, paying the bills, parenthood, education and more are topics that are regularly broken down and dissected for the masses. The latest to step out from such esteemed shadows is Phoenix Da Icefire. Baptism Under Fire follows the aforementioned formula to a tee. It ain't broken and due to the vast back catalogue of golden tinged loveliness they can call upon, and the awesome beatskills of peepz such as Chemo and Beat Butcha, is probably never going to be. As usual, you'll recognised some of the beats on show while others will be on the tip of your tongue (Shazam was no use to me either). Mos Def's Ultramagnetic, ODB's Brooklyn Zoo and Capone N Noreaga's Illegal Life are the most well known of Phoenix's backdrops of choice. In some ways you could say that using such well regarded source material is an obvious Course of action. Yet with the amount of third rate mixtapes doing the rounds these days maybe it isn't. Some more established MCs/crews release albums that are inferior to most mixtapes. These guys release mixtapes that are far superior to most albums. Phoenix is no exception.
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