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Presto State of the Art

While producer Presto’s State of the Art doesn’t break any new ground, it does well in maintaining hip-hop’s foundation, recreating the golden-tinged sound from the days of old. There are some tired samples (like Valerie Simpson’s “Silly Wasn’t I” on “Higher”), but the beatsmith flips them well, crafting some jazzy and laidback gems. Presto’s guest list includes veterans such as CL Smooth and Fatlip, along with new-schoolers Blu, Raashan Ahmad, Lowd, and T Weaponz. The lead single, “Conquer Mentally,” features Sadat X, O.C., and Large Professor, but when you reach the Large Pro remix at the end of the disc, you’re reminded of the difference between “old school-inspired” and that authentic golden-age sound.

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