Album cover Critical Beatdown - Ultramagnetic MC's
Critical BeatdownUltramagnetic MC's9/10

Ultramagnetic MC's - Critical Beatdown

14 Jul 2008 row1

It was the golden age of hip hop, Eric B. and Rakim were getting paid in full, no one was afraid to commercially sample The Beatles and thankfully Soulja Boy was yet to be conceived. In 1988 the Ultramagnetic MC's released one of hip hop's finest, innovative, but unfortunately lesser known albums, an album that still finds itself rotating on my playlist.

So how does the album sound 20 years later? Unsurprisingly it does sound like an album from 1988, this is partly due to the recording quality - it sounds a bit quiet and lacking sharpness and the 2004 remastered version doesn't do much to fix this. This may put some of the less patient readers off, but those willing to stick around will find some of hip hop's finest rapping, most creative lyrics and influential sampling techniques. Speaking of sampling, before the the Wu-Tang were sampling Kung Fu flicks Ultra were sampling films such as Star Wars.

Kool Keith is the album's protagonist stealing the spotlight on the mic, but unlike on The Best Kept Secret Ced Gee shines and provides a great dynamic, this is especially evident on Ease Back and Ego Trippin where Keith and Ced go to-and-fro.

Critical Beatdown is a true hip hop classic, while it has aged it is still the Ultramagnetic MC's finest album and has plenty to offer. For those looking for early Kool Keith or for old school (or the original new school) hip hop then you can't do much better than this.

Sardless Tracks

  • Ego Trippin
  • Kool Keith Housing Things
  • Travelling at the speed of thought.

Track Listing

  1. Watch Me Now
  2. Ease Back
  3. Ego Trippin
  4. Moe Luvs Theme
  5. Kool Keith Housing Things
  6. Travelling at the Speed of Thought
  7. Feelin It
  8. One Minute Less
  9. Aint It Good to You
  10. Funky
  11. Give the Drummer Some
  12. Break North
  13. Critical Beatdown
  14. When I Burn
  15. Ced-Gee (Delta Force One)