Felt – Felt 2: A Tribute To Lisa Bonet (10 Year Anniversary Edition)

3 out of 5

Label: Rhymesayers

Produced by: Ant

Your mileage on this is obviously going to vary based on how much you liked the original album… which is my least favorite Felt album, feeling very generic in tone and lyrics, and errs toward less interesting compositions from Ant overall, despite some worthwhile blending of funk and electronics.

But as usual with these kinds of things, I’m rating how it stacks up as a value if you already own another version, and it’s pluses and minuses. For the extra material, the instrumentals, again, are going to be down to your opinion on Ant’s work, here. As with other instrumentals from the artist, listening in this format does help to bring out some subtleties that are otherwise hard to appreciate when Slug and Murs are rapping atop, but that doesn’t necessarily make the majority of the compositions wholly more worthwhile. These are small touches; the best tracks are those where Ant is leaning into more of his soulful groove; the funk stuff is fun at first, but these tracks often feel a bit lazy, and just loop – though this issue affects many of the songs. Understood you’re in support of your MCs, but it’s nice when there’s a bit more to the music to appreciate. The mix can also be a bit disappointing on some tracks, where the low-end is hardly present, and there’s nothing really to give the song heart; it feels more like a baseline just for rhyming over. Also note that this is not remastered, just reissued, so while I think the vinyl format does benefit Ant, if you already own the LP (or the CD), there’s nothing to enhance the sound, except aural preference if you’re going from digital to this. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a good presentation, only noting it’s nothing new to previous versions.

There’s also a bonus track, and it’s a damn fine one, more in line with the first Felt releases sense of smart-slinging fun, and much more confessional and narrative than the sex-obsessed themes on Felt 2. Topics are a matter of preference, but I find Slug and Murs better at the backpack stuff than somewhat forcing their slovenly sides to the fore on the album proper.

But back to the negatives: Rhymesayers’ horrendous packaging on many of their 3x and 4xLP sets, which requires fully opening the long-ass gatefold to get out a single LP, and having to bend back the spines (they’re made for it, it’s just not convenient) to slide the vinyl in and out. It’s a pain in the poo, and makes the thought of getting this out for a casual listen not so casual.

I have other labels with multi-LP sets that are never packaged this way, but I don’t know if it’s truly particular to Rhymesayers. Regardless, I’ve only seen it from them, and have several of their LPs like this, and I’ve never gotten used to it.

If you don’t own another version, then yes, get this one (although it was a limited edition… but if you find it for a reasonable price…). If you own it already, and if you like it enough to double dip, then I suspect the instrumentals make it worth your while, plus that additional track.