New York’s underground scene was not stylistically monolithic – it included a wide range of commingling strains. This mixtape collects some of the key New York singles of the mid/late-’90s and in doing so presents a great snapshot of the variety on deck at the time. You get J-Live dropping lyrical miracles on ‘Braggin Writes’ alongside FT dropping gems of ignorance like “I’m sorta psycho like a retard on a motorcycle” on ‘Metal Thangz’, while Godfather Don finds the midpoint between the two on ‘Properties Of Steel’.
You also get Shades Of Brooklyn doing nostalgic ‘Project Windows’-type rap on their classic ‘Change’, G-Depp doing romantic thug proto-cloud rap on ‘Head Over Wheels’, and of course Company Flow’s seminal ‘8 Steps To Perfection’. The 101 tag in the name is apt: this is an essential entry-level indie rap primer, even if it did come out on a subsidiary of a major label.