Prior to the release of Boston-raised Statik Selektah’s Stick to the Script, 2008 had already been a stellar year for DJ compilations. Recent releases from Jake One, DJ Babu and DJ Revolution harkened back to the genre’s mid ’90s glory years, the decade that gave birth to Funkmaster Flex and DJ Clue.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a scan of Script’s track listing reveals Selektah’s admiration for gritty New York City rap, with M.O.P., Jadakiss, Redman and Black Rob all popping up to slay their respective guest appearances. Though mostly in thrall to the sonic school spawned by the five boroughs, Stick to the Script does manage a few diversions, exhibiting geographic diversity with posse cuts from Houston (“Get Out the Way”), Philadelphia (“All 2gether Now”), Boston (“Streets of M.A.”) and the West Coast (“Cali Nights.)”
Moreover, Selektah is careful to avoid making this a pure exercise in nostalgia, enlisting New Schoolers Joell Ortiz, Peedi Crakk, Termanalogy and Little Brother. While Selektah’s beats typically hew to the ’90s East Coast formula (eerie minor keys, grimy drum patterns and soul-splashed horn parts), the current-Brooklyn resident intuitively understands how to play to each MCs’ strengths while making sure they avoid complacency. Cumulatively, the effort amounts to one of the year’s best DJ compilations, one that looks backwards without resorting to empty nostalgia.