Weathermen’s The Conspiracy mixtape always hung in a weird limbo. At the time of its release in 2003, in the final sunset hours of the backpack era, many among the target audience were confused and appalled by the thought of their favorite underground heroes rapping over instrumentals concocted in the commercial realm (and thus explicitly off limits to any troo backpakaz.) These days many of these same naysayers have completely broken away from their Rawkus-era affiliations, often if favor of the same rap styles they used to hate in the past. They can only acknowledge the compilation’s existence tentatively, maybe as an addendum to greater appreciation of other more critically favorable music from the same period.
Perhaps I’m being too harsh, as objectively speaking some the songs included have not aged well. In retrospect, some were not great to begin with. The currently embarrassing public images and career developments of several featured artists certainly don’t help. That might sound superficial, but a shitty present tends to put a shitty tint on the past. If there was more El-P, Camu and Brewin in there instead of Copywrite, The Conspiracy might have fared better. But all that aside, there are some things here that are really worth revisiting.
Arguably the best and most worthwhile are these two songs. Here you have Tame at his drugged out best. You have two great verses from Brewin, the one on ‘Fried Fish’ in particular is a standout in a career full of standouts. You have Cage still in his angry young drug addict mode. You have further underground synergy on ‘Slick Talkin’ via the J-Zone beat (Brewin’s verse was later inexplicably removed when the song appeared on Tame’s solo.) And of course on ‘Fried Fish’ you have these guys rapping over one of the GOAT RZA beats.
DOWNLOAD: Tame One – Slick Talkin Ft Breeze Brewin (prod. by J-Zone)
DOWNLOAD: Breeze Brewin, Tame One, Cage – Fried Fish