Reg Young – Beatdown 2 [Review]
“The man who has no imagination has no wings,” mentions the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) of boxing Muhammad Ali, whose statement and spirit is reflected in the second coming of the album Beatdown II. Produced by a refined visualista and visionary Reg Young, whom does not stray far from being in the same ranks in Midwest production caliber of Tall Black Guy, Anton Genius, Thelonious Martin, and Rashid Hadee, sonically captures imaginings onto the boards with precision.
Beatdown II is archetypical for latticing nostalgia with modern production, equally complimenting one another. Though, the nostalgic reigns over the other because it chronicles a biopic through vintage instrumentals that flamboyantly scores Cassius Clay’s life perfectly to a film’s soundtrack. It is these imaginings that seize almost every aspect of a boxer’s personal life and career- a journey of ups and downs, a flight of triumphs and successes, love life, philosophies, and moments of monumental cockiness.
The super fly stylish “Heart”, the album’s intro, gangsta leans with thumping hard bass. It ultimately serves as the prelude to the main event. The disco infused “Down & Out” and the respective funk with power soul clap single “Blow Smoke” are HBO Boxing documentary scoring material only reserved for The Root’s front man Black Thought and Common to spill their cinematic dark lyricism over these knock out instrumentals. The monstrous “G-Shit” upper cuts like Ali’s power punches and Rope-A-Dope technique to an opponent in the ring. Its production is similar to the Dr. Dre days of Death Row whose instrumental is as wavy as the chronic smoke that comes out of Snoop Dogg’s nostrils.
The heart of the album is the mama-said-knock-you-out “Cold Winter”, a single that creates abrasion to a boxer’s knuckles after bittersweet candy cane blows to wack producers in the ring that craft unlawful music productions. The cinematic and celebratory “Loungin’” serves as an after party anthem when the arena lights dim and crowds dissipate. It is a single hip-hop artists Scarface and Bun B would sound nice trading verses to. The electrifying “Pinky Ring” is explosive as dynamite, having captured the Blaxploitation theme into one beautifully orchestrated sound.
Beatdown II is an oxymoron where it is opposite of prolix, yet instrumentally perceived as biographically witty and smart in lyrical verbiage. It revokes fight club card status from lesser heavyweight producers that bombard Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and Audio Mack with soundscape nothings that contributes deafness to ears. Where the first Beatdown installment serves as the preface, this sophomore effort proves no jinx as it outdoes the original. The artistic instrumentation on part II floats like a butterfly, stings like a bee.
Reg Young smells like the suede of an immaculate set of boxing gloves and sounds crisp as the fresh $100 dollar bills.
-Hector De La Rosa