It doesn’t get nearly the recognition of other classic East Coast albums that dropped during the ‘golden age’ of the 1990’s, but it is arguably just as timeless and as classic as ‘Ready To Die’, ‘Illmatic’, ‘Reasonable Doubt’, ‘Enter The 36 Chambers’ or ‘The Infamous’. It’s a sleeper, which is ironic considering the album title is ‘Nocturnal’. Now, everyone who considers themselves a TRUE hip hop head knows this album, known Rock and Ruck and the Boot Camp Click etc. If not, open another tab in your browser, do some googling and come back enlightened to some of the best music ever created!

Revisiting this now, nearly 25 years on from it’s release and it’s amazing how it still goes hard – but then again, that is what a classic album does. First of all, you have that dark, grimy almost spooky production from Da Beatminerz which sets a soundscape that puts you smack bang on the concrete. Then, the deep, booming voices of Rock and Ruck make the speakers earn their keep and knock the headphones from your head. It puts the hard in hard body hip hop. The third element of this classic release is the quality lyrical content not just from Sean P and Rock, but Starang Wondah and Louieville Sluggah who are just a couple of the very limited features on this joint. In an age where two or three emcees team up to give you ten 2 and a half minute tracks, this full length banger with limited featured emcees and checking in at over an hour of listening time is a masterpiece to relive.

It’s not all dark, street tale though – another key aspect of this release is the witty, clever and charismatic nature of some verses. Nothing ever seems out of place and it’s one of the reasons why Sean Price should ALWAYS be in the conversation of the best-ever emcees. Trading bars back and forth, the chemistry that these two have – it’s impeccable. You also have a couple of tracks produced by E-Swift of Tha Alkaholiks including what was the first single release from the album ‘Operation Lockdown’ which also seamlessly add to the overall make up of this epic hip hop classic.

So why isn’t this album as revered as some of those iconic joints mentioned in my intro? It’s hard to say, but in an era where there was SO MUCH dope music, some gems were always going to fall through the cracks and this just happened to be one of them. However, when you dust it off and give it another full length listen, not only does it stack up, but it arguably has stood the test of time to remain a little more relevant than some of the shinier jewels in the East Coast’s crown.

This is the part where I normally pick out a few tracks and call them ‘bangers’ and we all go and bump them, BUT with a joint like this, I’m not going to do it. You need to go back and invest an hour or so in what is one of the most underrated releases not just of the 90’s but of all time. People may look back on it now and understand just how incredible it is, but at the time, The Source only saw fit to give this masterpiece 3.5 mics. I should send Redman around there to Slap Tha Shit Outta them – but in the end it doesn;t matter because I’m giving this a 10/10. A perfect score, for the perfect album. You better recognise.

What would you rate this classic joint from ‘Sparksy & Dutch’? Did you love it from day one, or is it something you’ve gone back to and realised it’s a classic? Let us know and make sure you come and join in the discussion on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

About The Author

By Brutus Maximus

Founder of Raw Side Hip Hop. Been rocking with the hip hop culture for over 30 years. Love the creativity, authenticity of the art and the culture as a whole. Shout out to the real ones making and supporting true hip hip and the artists who make it!