Statik Selektah - Lucky 7 (2015)
Lucky 7 is Statik Selektah's seventh and supposedly final producer compilation album. The title might be a joke, but it also signals an uncomfortable familiarity. Statik, whose real name is Patrick Baril, has unceremoniously pumped out hour-long projects like this for the last eight years, and just about all of them feature some three dozen rappers. Earlier this year Baril was asked about what motivates him as a producer and he responded, "It's a really simple formula: fuck with artists that don't suck at rapping." It's a pretty flat, dispassionate motto, but practically speaking, he's built the philosophy into an alignment with a batch of East Coast semi-underground rappers for the better part of a decade. On albums like Lucky 7 Statik corrals them into an assembly line and feeds them beats.
Statik Selektah - Lucky 7 (2015)
Hip-Hop | Duck Down
V0 | MP3 | unmixed | 2015 | 69:31 | 111 Mb
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01. Intro (feat. Hannibal Buress) (1:21)
02. Another Level (feat. Rapsody) (3:14)
03. Beautiful Life (feat. Action Bronson & Joey Bada$$) (3:21)
04. Hood Boogers (feat. Your Old Droog & Chauncy Sherod) (3:22)
05. The Locker Room (feat. Dave East) (2:58)
06. In the Wind (feat. Joey Bada$$, Big K.R.I.T. & Chauncy Sherod) (4:01)
07. Crystal Clear (feat. Royce Da 5'9") (3:39)
08. How You Feel (feat. Mick Jenkins) (2:32)
09. Murder Game (feat. Smif N Wessun, Young M.A & Buckshot) (3:20)
10. Gentlemen (feat. Illa Ghee, Sean Price & Fame) (2:54)
11. Bodega! (feat. Bodega Bamz) (3:07)
12. The Trophy Room (feat. Skyzoo, Ea$y Money, Domo Genesis & Masspike Miles) (3:59)
13. Sucker Free (feat. JFK) (4:36)
14. Wall Flowers (feat. Your Old Droog, Termanology & Lord Sear) (3:20)
15. Top Tier (feat. Sean Price, Bun B & Styles P) (3:19)
16. Silver Lining (feat. A$AP Twelvyy, Kirk Knight & Chauncy Sherod) (3:20)
17. Cold (feat. Wais P & Jared Evan) (3:24)
18. All You Need (feat. Action Bronson, Ab-Soul & Elle Varner) (3:39)
19. Scratch Off (feat. CJ Fly, Talib Kweli & Cane) (4:43)
20. Alone (feat. Joey Bada$$) (3:31)
21. Harley's Blues (1:24)
As a producer, Statik isn't the type to push boundaries. His baseline sound is manufacturable with skill: a few similar drum patterns snap into place on almost all of his songs, a loose sample—guitar, horn, or twinkling keys usually—clicks on top, and a chorus is often, but less frequently recently, scratched out of a famous '90s vocal sample. It's a recipe for an unambitious palatability, but Statik has also definitely gotten better over the last decade, and at his best (which includes about a quarter of this album) he can coax out smoother, more alive grooves than this latter-day boom-bap formula usually allows. The worst thing here is the format—21 tracks and no continuity—not the music.
Statik has loosened his tendency toward a three-rapper quota per song—though there are still far too many of them here—and it's easier to down the first few tracks in sequence because of the effect. On "Another Level", Rapsody delivers with less flash than the rest of the bunch but is nonetheless one of the most interesting. Her oddly placed inflections and abrupt rhyme schemes have become a hallmark, but it's still fun to soak up and parse. On "Beautiful Life", a best-foot-forward lead single, Statik musters up an '80s pop-inflected feeling for Action Bronson and Joey Bada$$, the New York rappers with whom he's most closely aligned.
Bronson can make himself at home anywhere, but at worst the collaborations can run cold, a hazard of the format and Statik's production as much as anything else. Royce da 5'9'' sounds tired of his dexterity when he often revels in it elsewhere, but there's nothing in the choppy beat of "Crystal Clear" to charge him up. It's easy to mistake Illa Ghee for Sean Price on "Gentlemen", but at least the off-kilter loop Statik builds up from a prog sample suits them well enough to share the same space. Later, "Top Tier" gathers obligatory and disposable verses from Bun B and Styles P over the most middling production of the album.
As a whole Lucky 7 sounds a lot like everything else Statik Selektah has done up to this point; the album is neither offputting nor particularly exciting, and it's hard to feel strongly about at all. A couple of the songs sound good enough to have just gotten cut from better solo albums, but that's not a strong selling point. To his credit, the guy churned a formal mixtape series into a bona fide discography. It's not surprising he's leaving the format behind, and he's certainly milked it for all it's worth.
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