Mention “M.O.P.” in any hip-hop conversation, and most heads have either heard or heard of who you’re talking about. With minimal radio play, the stocky, gravel-voiced microphone fiends, Billy Danze and Lil Fame, have gained a reputation for leaving a trail of scorched stages all over, statewide to overseas and everyplace in between.
Sparta, the first collaborative effort between M.O.P. and the German and Danish production squad, the Snowgoons, is M.O.P. at their finest and features a range of dope beats, entirely produced by the Snowgoons. And the hammering treble overload of the Snowgoons best beats suits M.O.P. better than anything a producer could sell them.
Billy Danze and Lil Fame still have the fire in their belly to sound perpetually pissed off on the mic, and while they lean a bit too heavily on gun talk, their music’s appeal comes as much from its quality as it does the overwhelming intensity of it. M.O.P.’s most aggressive material, from the militant thump of “Opium ” to the eerie frenetic piano backdrop of “Body On The Iron,” is sized up against M.O.P.’s decidedly more accessible radio friendly tracks, including the current single “Get Yours,” which rides triumphant horn swells.
Both MCs coalesce tenaciously on “Rollin” a snarling, forceful track that combines belligerence and wit with punch lines like, “I’m the king of this hard shit/Though I never been an artist I’m just dope as fuck/The credentials my hood gave me/Potential to rock nations further than Jay-Z/Play me if you want/Watch a nigga come up short/Dawg ya playin ball on the wrong court” before tossing off, “It’s a blood sport my nigga it’s no love lost” over a contagious organ loop. And over the handclapping head-bop of “Break Em,” M.O.P. offers the rawest lyricism over a sinister piano laden baseline.
With a host of swaggering and vehement rhymes over hardcore production, Sparta proves that the “legendary M.O.P.” is back at it and isn’t letting up any time soon.
-Andrea D. Wilson