Putting four underground lyricists with cult followings on a single album seems like a good idea on paper, but here the result is rehashed boom-bap drivel with a street-rap edge that falls flat more often than not. Composed of Joell Ortiz, Royce da 5'9", Crooked I and Joe Budden, the group brings out clichéd Voltron metaphors less than a minute into Sound Off, the first cut. By the second, there's talk of "lyrical lords." Track three is called Microphone. Enough said.
This self-titled album sounds like it could have been made 10 years ago, fitting considering that's when each of the group's members peaked. But when they're not struggling to prove their microphone prowess, they're surprisingly effective, especially on the string-driven Onslaught 2 featuring Fatman Scoop. Unfortunately, they mostly come across as predictable and chuckle-worthy for the wrong reasons.
Top track: Onslaught 2