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Once the members of Boot Camp Clik were dukes of the underground, second only to the Wu-Tang dynasty. Under the rule of Lord Buckshot, the BCC collective reeled off a series of heavy hitters. Even OGC’s mediocre debut had a few ill tracks. But that was before BCC started beefing with its production team, the BeatMinerz. Underestimating the contributions of Mr. Walt and Evil D, BCC decided to do it alone. The result was the laughable compilation album For Da People. Fortunately, BCC has reconciled with the BeatMinerz—but the reunion didn’t occur in time to save the Cocoa Brovaz’ second album, The Rude Awakening. As with the BCC compilation album, the lyrics are there for the most part. But even the best MC can be done in by weak production, and Awakening becomes a grab bag of lackluster beats.The piano and guitar loops are strong, but the album’s drums sound like a bored fifth-grader tapping on his desk. The BeatMinerz’ percussive tracks would hit you like a shot of JD, but the production on Awakening feels more like a glass of flat Pepsi. To be fair, there is the bluesy “Myah Angelow” which features Heltah Skeltah’s Tall Sean, and the capable “Hold It Down.” There’s also the one track that Mr. Walt managed to squeeze in, “Bucktown USA,” one of the album’s few inspired cuts. But Cocoa Brovaz, and all of BCC, need to understand that whack production is the ultimate MC virus. For the sake of hiphop, Tek and Steele need to see the BeatMinerz for a vaccine.

—Ta-Nehisi Coates