With twenty years of service striped on their sleeve, the two-man tandem of Lil Fame and Billy Danze won’t be issued retirement papers anytime soon as their next blitzkrieg of rap bullets comes in the form of a studio composite with German production team, the Snowgoons. On Sparta, there’s enough street interactions to make your speakers dribble with concrete pellets, but as is par for the course, the surprises are kept to a minimum.
As expected, the album’s title is derived from the battleground of Frank Miller’s 300 and consists of plenty of trumpeted marches and enough treble to quake the ground with each cry of ghetto dominance. The Snowgoons match a grungy bass riff to meet the double entendre of “Blasphemy (Blast For Me)” halfway to satisfactory results. Over sweltering organs and a pulsating drum pattern, “Opium” is the stuff that hardcore fiends crave while the subdued “Rollin’” marks the lone moment on the 10-track project where the production doesn’t try to ignite a head explosion.
For better or worse, Lil Fame and Billy Danze’s mindsets have not evolved from the usual ruckus they’re known to bring. The boys from Brownsville have never exactly been commercial draws and even their stints at the top offices of Roc-A-Fella and G-Unit were more so homages to their quality outputs. But tracks like the territory-marking “Get Yours” and “Break ‘Em” merely just hammer at points that are already stumps in the ground from years of the Posse’s relevance. And while the Snowgoons are obvious fans of the Mash Out movement and knew what angle to steer them in, none of the production on the album matches the irresistible fever of some of the golden entries in their catalog like “Cold as Ice” or “4 Alarm Blaze.”
When it all boils down to it, though, it’s hard to teach old dogs new tricks or even make them pretend like they give a fuck. For all the madness and melee that is Sparta, this is M.O.P. in their most natural state. Either get out of the way or prepare to be trampled.
Label: Babygrande | Producers: Snowgoons