L.O.N.S. / T.I.M.E / 1993
And here’s dream hampton’s four-mic review from The Source:
I hate to be the one to put it on paper and shit, but Busta needs to do a solo album. Not that Leaders of the New School doesn’t work as a group. They do. Nor are Dinco D, Charlie Brown or Milo Don anything less than exceptional MCs. Charlie’s post-Chuck D delivery, Dinco’s stacked flow and the intro of Milo as certified ragga-ruffneck are reason enough to come out of $8.99 for the Leaders’ long-delayed, T.I.M.E. (The Inner Mind’s Eye). But the problem with an L.O.N.S. jam is you can’t help waiting for Busta to get on the mic—you haul ass to the rewind button every time he does. You want more of him than the group can provide. He doesn’t have to get all big-headed and storm out of the crew in a huff—but he can quietly slip away for a week, drop a fat EP and resume his position on stage with Leaders. On T.I.M.E. Busta gets buttnaked and wild: he growls, grunts, chants and basically continues to break all musical rules. Method Man, Fat Lip, Redman, Fellowship and Onyx have all spent a little quiet time with Busta in their headphones. His polyrhythmic flow, not unlike Coltrane or Parker, transforms sparse tracks into complicated segments of combustible explosions.
T.I.M.E. is a rarity in hip-hop—a sophomore album that is better than the debut, proving that Leaders are to be taken seriously despite the lazy sales of their first LP. There are no gats, bats, bitches or slain cops; just frenzied all-night freestyle sessions and a blunt or two. Immediate stand-outs are the lead single, “What’s Next,” and “The Difference,” where Charlie Brown wins for having the nuts to kick something positive and Dinco’s rhymes prove him to be the best writer in the group. But the best cut has to be the Sam Sever (yes, of 3rd Bass fame) produced “Spontaneous (13 Deep).” Cracker-Jacks and Rumpletilskins—two L.O.N.S. offspring groups—join the four man crew to create the posse cut of the season. Busta, his man Rampage and Milo get the gold, silver and bronze for this one. Milo pulls a Phife on us, using the nearly two-year period between records to perfect his rudeboy style. Rampage has a voice as menacing as RBX’s or J-Rule’s and the gangsta shit he kicks is just enough to get the party started. And of course, Busta keeps “Coming kind of stupid from the station/The chameleon/Changing crazy styles.”
With their many styles, high-powered show and steady beats L.O.N.S. may just see gold and platinum this time around.