Having steered the mothership and worked as a triggerman for the Godfather of Soul, storied sax man Maceo Parker now brings his own tight rhythm and soul sound to vinyl (er, plastic) in undeniable proof that he's still "got it." Combining his smoking horn with the backing of fellow legends such as trombonist Fred Wesley and new bloods such as son Corey (whose intermittent raps colorfully enhance the album's youthful vibrance), Maceo works through the familiar funk and soul lines of his Parliament and JB days and adds new twists to such classics as Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On" and "Inner City Blues," Stevie Wonder's "Tell Me Something Good," and Sly Stone's "Sing a Simple Song," while offering a number of his own well-orchestrated and well-seasoned compositions. "Youth of the World" features Maceo on a lead vocal reminiscent of Kool Moe Dee or Kurtis Blow, while "Do You Love Me" rises like Tower of Power before the sultry Chicago lines of closer "Going in Circles".
Funkmaster Flex keeps his Mix Tape: 60 Minute of Funk going with Volume 4, which features mainly freestyles. Performers include some of the industries top rappers - primarily New Yorkers like DMX and Ja Rule but also a few out-of-town surprises like Eminem and Ludacris - most of whom freestyle over Flex's own productions. The plethora of exclusive productions sets Volume 4 apart from its predecessors, which were more straightforward mix albums comprised of previously released hits. As such, Volume 4 offers a lot of performances that cannot be found elsewhere, so fans of the featured rappers should take note.
The third (and final, according to the album's subtitle) chapter of New York DJ Funkmaster Flex's mix albums is the best of the bunch, a gritty combination of old- (A Tribe Called Quest, House of Pain, Naughty By Nature) and new-school rappers (Missy Elliott, Wu-Tang Clan, Busta Rhymes).
The Mix Tape, Vol. 2: 60 Minutes of Funk is every bit as engaging its predecessor, capturing Funkmaster Flex as he spins through a stack of modern and classic hip-hop and R&B, with various guest rappers freestyling while he does so. The energy is equal to Vol. 1, and while some listeners might find the relentless but seamless mixing to be a little amelodic and irritating, any true hip-hop fan will consider the album a treasure.