The Beatnuts first made their mark as producers for the likes of Common and Chi-Ali in the early 1990s. Almost 10 years later, Take It Or Squeeze It becomes the sixth EP or LP released by the NYC duo of Psycho Les and JuJu. Like their name suggests, beats are the forte and the new album doesn”t disappoint in that area.

Paul Wong
The Three Cousins (Megan Besley, Alissa Mercurio and Kimberley Dolanski) get pornographic in “La Perichole.”<br><br>Courtesy of University Productions

The lead single “No Escapin” This” has a bounce to it like The Beatnuts” classic tracks “Off The Books” and “Watch Out Now.” The female vocal loop gets stuck in your brain and next thing you know your head is nodding to the beat. I guest this is the indication of a well-produced track.

“It”s Da Nuts” features ex-Beatnut Al Tariq and follows the same pattern as “No Escapin” This.” It also produces the same result. On “Prendelo (Light It Up),” Tha Nuts team up with fellow Latino hip-hop standout Tony Touch. More or less the track is a shout out to their associates back on the streets and who”ve past away (RIP to Pun and Big L).

The final track features Method Man on a remix of “Se Acabo.” Needless to say, Method shines as he throws in a little Spanish to keep his flow interesting.

Overall there isn”t much I can say about this album other than the beats take precedence over everything else. Luckily, they”re tight so they don”t detract from the larger project. However, the lyrics are simple and somewhat clich. The Beatnuts are a production crew so most of their work goes into that. This album could have been better if they stayed behind the boards and let someone else do most of the talking. So I”d say this was a decent album but please, Les and JuJu, next time hire a few more MCs to help out.

Grade: B-

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