2008 was a productive year for Burnt MD. He released another excellent full-length album and appeared on Northampton-based collective The Problemaddicts’ top-notch regional compilation mixtape The Guestlist. In addition, the hardest-working man in Vermont hip-hop has been touring regularly in the Northeast, spreading his higher-conscience Green Mountain flow from legendary Cambridge nightclub The Middle East to South Burlington’s Higher Ground. Somehow Burnt MD found the time, under the banner of his own collective/movement GTD, to reconnect with New York-based collective/movement Projectivity and release the latest installment of their high-minded hip-hop comps, Projected Mixtape Vol. 3. Whew.
The estimable Burnt Microphone Doctor appears three times on the weighty volume’s 25 tracks. Each of these contributions appears on his previous effort, Burnt MD & Tha Professor. But local hip-hop aficionados will find them worth revisiting. Of particular note is the comp’s second track, “Daydream,” which follows a smooth intro cut by Albany’s Origin.
With ace beats courtesy of Tha Professor, Burnt unleashes his signature, paradoxically laid-back and aggressive flow before yielding to longtime collaborator Network. The latter MC has been quiet of late, but the song is an apt reminder of just how potent this dynamic duo can be.
Next up, “Fuck You Mean” introduces the comp’s considerable star power: Pack FM, Atmosphere’s Slug and current underground heavyweight champ Brother Ali trade verses with ease and wit.
The hit parade continues throughout as underground luminaries from Staten Island’s The Higher Concept — whose MC, Tekst, spearheads Projectivity — to NYOIL, Akrobatik, iCON the Mic King, Sons of Kalal and The Problemaddicts, among many others, contribute stellar tracks. As The Higher Concept themselves put it, “We’re all stars. But we’re better as a constellation.”
That line does a better job of summing up the comp’s overriding message than any keyboard jockey could. In an age when hip-hop is notable for lavish overstatement, it’s refreshing when truly artistic and accomplished talents join forces, reminding us that the culture was inspired by a need to make the world a better place. There is power in understatement, too, and few examples are more effective than Projected Vol. 3.