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Medina Green - Funky Fresh in the Flesh Mix Tape Vol. 2

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Artist: Medina Green

Album: Funky Fresh in the Flesh Mix Tape Vol. 2

Label: Illson Media

Review date: Dec. 6, 2005

Analogy time: Mos Def is to Medina Green…as Busta Rhymes is to Leaders of the New School? Not exactly. While Busta was the obvious star of the early-’90s Long Island crew that gave him his start, his three fellow Leaders could hold their own, and L.O.N.S’ two LPs spawned quirky minor hits like “Sobb Story,” “Case Of The P.T.A.” and “What’s Next?!” On the other hand, Medina Green, the matchstick phoenix that rose from the ashes of Mos Def’s first group, UTD, consisting of Mos’ little brother, Illson (formerly DCQ), his cousin Magnetic and a rotating, interchangeable cast. So far, Medina’s notable credits consist of one Soundbombing II highlight (“Crosstown Beef”). And yes, that’s up to and including Funky Fresh In The Flesh, the group’s second mix tape.

The best track on Funky Fresh may just be Mos Def’s solo a cappella verbal spray on “Intro: Bling,” which doesn’t speak well for Medina Green or their producers. The Beatminerz’s interesting but sleepy “Medina Green Giants” and Minnesota’s generic bass thump “Workin It Out” are C-level tracks from A-level beatmakers – if Mos didn’t shout Minnesota’s name out over the track, it would be completely interchangeable from the sound-alike mid-tempo tracks around it.

Illson (distinguished by his trebly, Q-Tip/Magoo-like voice) and Magnetic (distinguished by not being Illson) are generic braggadocio rappers with little to brag about. Lack of topicality isn’t the whole problem though: their two efforts to say something, the sorta positive “Momma Said” (a disgraceful mangling of Junior’s “Mama Used To Say”) and molasses slow warning shot “Sometimes,” are easily the most painful listens on the album. The energetic “Physical Challenge” and Geology’s dense, flute-laced “Yo-Yo-Yo” count as highlights, if only by contrast, but the listener’s patience might be exhausted by the time they reach these semi-bangers.

Mos Def’s regard for his (literal) family is commendable, but even Black Dante’s most avid fans will find justifying Medina Green’s existence challenging. Even with some of the shine off his star, Mos Def is Cal Ripken Jr. to Illson and Magnetic’s collective Billy, and is to Medina Green what Eminem is to D12.

By Josh Drimmer

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