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Lord Finesse - From The Crates To The Files ... The Lost Sessions

posted on Oct 17, 2005 Lord Finesse - S.K.I.T.S. (Link Expired)
Lord Finesse f. Big L - You Know What I'm About (Original Version) (Link Expired)

Lord Finesse - From the Crates to the Files: The Lost Sessions

Lord Finesse
From The Crates To The Files … The Lost Sessions
Fat Beats, 2003

Da Bronx’s Lord Finesse is at once a deeply impressive and thoroughly disappointing musician. His core audience (or cult following, if you so prefer) reveres him as a founding member of the Diggin’ In The Crates collective, a highly accomplished producer and phenomenal emcee, and lastly, the father to Big L’s popular and influential multi-syllabic punchline rhyme style. His debut LP Funky Technician (Wild Pitch, 1990) is occasionally acknowledged as a boom-bap classic, but he only released two other full-lengths, Return of the Funky Man (Giant, 1992) and the long delayed The Awakening (Penalty, 1996). Although Return and Awakening were received with lukewarm sentiment and feature inconsistent production, few can deny that Finesse rips nearly all of his verses with unmatched tenacity and technique.

Crates To The Files is thus a godsend for Finesse’s faithful but vinyl eschewing fans. The compilation is crowded with previously elusive gems and archived treats and is arguably a more fitting representation of the man’s immeasurable skill than his proper releases. While a song like the barely on-beat remix of “Isn’t He Something” is notable mostly for its obscurity and the novelty of Large Professor’s production cameo, the remix of “Yes You May” and the “original version” of “You Know What I’m About” are some of the hardest and quotable joints of the early 90s. Both songs are positively enlivened by Big L’s unsigned hyper flow. Finesse and L sound right at home over these bassy, midnight tracks and their chemistry is reminiscent of a teacher and a reverential pupil even while Finesse smartly stands back and lets his young, starving disciple catch serious career-sparking wreck. “S.K.I.T.S.,” which originally appeared on the State of Emergency compilation (Mad Sounds, 1994) sees Lord Finesse at his sharpest and most socially perceptive. He delivers an impassioned and empathetic, if alarmist, expose of urban adolescent criminality over eerily mesmerizing and minimalist samples that resonate with a mournful poignance reminiscent of DJ Premier’s remix of Fat Joe’s “Shit is Real” from the same year.

The melodic and ethereal “Check The Method” and the relentlessly hardcore “Check Me Out Baby Pah” together illustrate the range and growth of Finesse’s sound, but you don’t buy a Lord Finesse album for the beats, people! Crates To The Files features Finesse at his smoothest, funniest, and illest, spitting one-liners and unforeseen slang combinations with the overbearing intensity of a raggedy up-and-comer begging a starched-shirt A&R to listen to his pause-tape demo. The way it should be done.

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Comments for "Lord Finesse - From The Crates To The Files ... The Lost Sessions"

  1. Return of the Funkyman was the first Finesse I owned and, by the time I got Funky Technician, I actually preferred it to his debut. I remember reading some review saying he was a lot of rappers’ favorite rappers and that’s what prompted me to hunt down his material until I found it up in Duluth. Needless to say, this predated the innanet and cornballs talking about nuts. Any rapper who does a social commentary track “for the nieces and nephews” and then rebuffs those who won’t pay attention by telling them “eff you” is a visionary of the highest caliber.

    Props to the L-O-R-D and, no, I didn’t mention The Awakening because he’d gotten soft enough to start claiming he was “hard like the heel on f-ing church shoes”, which seemed to belie the original boast. Then again, anyone who has a gut and lets it hang out in album photo shoots deserves some kind of demented props. Give me the Tony Meola adidas goalie shirt he was rocking which made him look like a cross between Forrest Whittaker and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle-all this in front of a helicopter.

    Kashal-Tee’s style is directly influenced by Finesse, what with landing the set up line of his raps on the three and the punchline rime on the four. I guess I’m too impatient to master such techniques.
    Sankofa    Oct 18, 07:57 AM   
  2. I flipped when I saw this on a Fat Beats release sheet when it first came out, pleased to say I still own the double vinyl version..:D
    Jaz    Oct 20, 08:20 AM   
  3. Jaz – the vinyl version is significantly different from the CD version. Can you post the tracklisting for that vinyl edition that you have?
    R.H.S.    Oct 20, 01:14 PM