“Forever and Always” is the anchor bolt embedded in Foundation. Were you unfamiliar with Warriorz, Firing Squad, First Family 4 Life, you’d understand MOP’s entire aesthetic in four minutes flat. Sure, there’s something trite about a “we still ain’t changed” track from a pair of New York 90s stalwarts who rap like Brownsville was a Bessemer Process. But what else do you want from the Mash Out Posse? Crisp jeans and a button-up? Sinatra at the opera? Fame claims he’s “still in the hood with a dusty-ass .38, childhood friends gone, body after body.” Sentimentalizing on St. Mark’s Ave, the radio bumping EPMD, going to kindergarten with Smooth Da Hustla (presumably packing #2 pencils.)
Evolution is imperative for some artists, less so for others. Had Kanye kept the backpack rhyme book and the college motif, he’d be doing guest-spots on the new Kidz in the Hall jaunt. But to the gun-clapping gang behind www.iwillfuckyouup.com, switching up is tantamount to selling out. Has anyone ever been gullier than Danze and Womack? 50 was probably plying them with scads of G-Unit cash and still, Fame’s teeth stay looking like unpopped popcorn kernels.We are the better for this. Even the most minor encroach of trends and technology on Foundation feel forced–see Demarco’s second-tier Ron Browz facsimile on “Street Life” that feels dated on its week of release. When they stick to the brick-bat basics, they thrive.
This is iron-lunged, saber-toothed carnivore rap to pump iron or flash it. There are a few skippable tracks, and Premier’s presence on all but one track is sorely missed (though Statik Selektah does a more than serviceable impression). More often than not, Danzini and Fame bring enough aggravated fury to cause you to fail blood pressure exams–see anti-gentrification anthem, “Brooklyn,” the self-explanatory Styles P-aided “Bang Time,” and street single, “Blow the Horns.” Foundation might not be a classic, but it’s the sort of album you want M.O.P. to make forever and always (no Vandross).
* Or as it was originally called, “The parts of Brooklyn that Williamsbearders must avoid after dark.”