The opener "Trouble Man" is the perfect soundtrack for the New York state of mind, including rhymes that ricochet across beats like bullets off slushy sidewalks. Over brisk drums and stormy piano riffs, couplets like "Your mind's blind if you say you haven't seen this/ I walk the fine line between insanity and genius" feel edgy without being overblown. Likewise, "Who Makes It Hot" and "Epiphany" offer synergy between spare rhythms and sharp braggadocio. The only song with truly dynamic production is "Romper Room," which, with its chunky soul-sample chorus, is as catchy as a ball.
By its nature, Re:release is a bit of an archaeological dig, with the freshest tracks at the top of the album. While these tunes offer long lines that can stretch across five bars at a time, the later cuts revisit the well-worn cadences and inflections of the early '90s. All, however, are unified by a street-level hunger and intelligence. This is the kind of low-budget find that makes you think there must be tons of music like it out there -- but there's just not. Cherish this diamond in the rough.