The Teacha and Marl, enemies in the '80s but both now over 40, sound energized by their first buzz-heavy project in decades. Ready to bury hatchets and inspire a new generation, they kick it off in style with the title song, 'Hip Hop Lives (I Come Back),â?� a hard-burning love letter to the movement they helped bring to prominence. After a couple of filler missteps, including a slightly fetishistic tribute to KRS' '90s counterpart, Nas, the album redeems itself in the form of 'Victory,â?� an incendiary and shocking duet featuring the Blastmaster and Blaq Poet (who not only traded vocal barbs in the early '90s, but genuinely hated each other). It's a fine payoff for an album's worth of wild boasts about bringing the culture together, and it adds depth and gravitas to what feels like an event release, only a couple of decades too late. It's unfair that Hip Hop Lives doesn't pack more of a punch in today's landscape, but as a morsel of nouvelle nostalgia, this album is an overachiever.
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