Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Review: DJ Axel - Breakin' the Law

Label: Holden Records

Released: 2007

There is no real question that mash-ups are a novelty. Unlike a song that merely contains samples, a mash-up relies strictly on the strength of the songs that are colliding. True, there is some talent to hearing that two songs will work together and then mixing them into one. However, the result is never greater than the sum of it's parts. In fact, it seldom results in something that equals the quality of even one of its parts. Still, if the tunes going into the mix are good and it isn't forced, the result can extract a little bit of extra fun. DJ Axel doesn't nail all that he attempts, but he gets enough of them to make Breakin' the Law better than the average novelty album.

I don't think anyone would be surprised that Queen's foray into disco could work with Clipse on "Another One Bites the Last Time." Likewise, it's no shock that Bob Marley and Lupe Fiasco can find common ground with "Could You Be Kicked, Pushed & Loved." A little more surprising is Dj Axel's marriage of Jay-Z with GnR on "Guns N' Hovas" which actually adds a healthy dose of energy to Jay-Z's generally dull delivery.

Since fun is really the name of the game with this light fare, the best track here is "Control Myself After Midnight." As if it wasn't enough of a good time to get Judas Priest, LL Cool J and J Lo on the same page, DJ Axel also throws in a few samples from the hilarious cult classic Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Along with "Shorty Wanna Feelgood," which brings Motley Crue and G-Unit together, Axel demonstrates that he actually has some real love for metal (even if it doesn't go into any deep cuts). He has sufficient understanding to weave it in rather than simply throwing a few guitar riffs at a hip-hop song.

A few fail to bring the two songs together. "Lil' Brick House" is sometimes the Commodores and sometimes Lil' Kim, but never truly both. "What You Know About Drop Dead Legs" is never the hip-hop Van Halen that it should be and I certainly hoped for more when Peggy Lee met Ludacris on "Stand Up Fever." The difference between this and most mash-ups though is that falling short isn't the rule. While none really expands on anything the original tracks offer, they do succeed in bringing the songs together for a novel good time.

Rating: 6/10



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