Tha Takeovah (Ill Vizion Records)

Various Artists 

Tha Takeovah (Ill Vizion Records)

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When it comes to referencing LeBron James, the Cleveland collective Ill Vizion is among hip-hop's vanguard. But just like Tha Takeovah's title, the collection itself isn't anything you haven't heard before. Ill Vizion advises us to act like we know. They solicit what-whats. They say they're all up in the game.

We say time out. Sampling started as borrowing a slamming breakbeat or wistful guitar line. Now rappers essentially sample entire cultures. One after another, the Ill Vizion crew spits bounce-inducing flow, offers up a P-poppin' anthem, and gets crunktastic. Like any two-disc rap set, it has far too much filler, but it isn't without bright spots. The women rappers, most notably Delisiani, flow as well or better than the men. Esquire gets the best-rhyme award for the comp: "I'm stabbin' haters like Russell Crowe in Gladiator." We'll be on guard.

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