Funkmaster Flex keeps his Mix Tape: 60 Minute of Funk going with Volume 4, which features mainly freestyles. Performers include some of the industries top rappers - primarily New Yorkers like DMX and Ja Rule but also a few out-of-town surprises like Eminem and Ludacris - most of whom freestyle over Flex's own productions. The plethora of exclusive productions sets Volume 4 apart from its predecessors, which were more straightforward mix albums comprised of previously released hits. As such, Volume 4 offers a lot of performances that cannot be found elsewhere, so fans of the featured rappers should take note.
The Mix Tape, Vol. 2: 60 Minutes of Funk is every bit as engaging its predecessor, capturing Funkmaster Flex as he spins through a stack of modern and classic hip-hop and R&B, with various guest rappers freestyling while he does so. The energy is equal to Vol. 1, and while some listeners might find the relentless but seamless mixing to be a little amelodic and irritating, any true hip-hop fan will consider the album a treasure.
Funkmaster Flex's The Mix Tape, Vol. 1 recalls hip-hop's past while pointing toward its future. Featuring a wide array of hip-hop styles graced by amazing freestyle raps by some of the '90s top MCs, the album sounds like a mixtape compiled from the radio and 7" singles - there's simply nothing but first-rate music, with no filler whatsoever. Although there are elements of old-school rap as well as modern funk, the daring production and stunning rhymes make The Mix Tape a rarity of mid-'90s hip-hop - it's a record that sounds like none of its competition. It announces itself as an instant classic.
"Flexing" is a dance style forged in far east Brooklyn, at the dead-end of a handful of subway lines. Flex dancers channel the grittiness and crime of East New York into choreographed violence with gun movements, simulated bone-breaking, and the mimicked ripping of hearts from opponent's chests. Through battles dancers gain respect, craft an artistic identity, and sometimes find a sanctuary from the poverty and violence that saturates their neighborhood. No other style of street-dance is this violent, scary, or beautifully theatrical. In this purely do-it-yourself scene, creativity and ambition bring a community together around frequent dance-battle showcases that have begun to attract an international audience and may catapult the best dancers into careers in theater or film. Following a group of dancers for over two years, Flex is Kings explores the hopes and realities of this under-acknowledged and totally unfunded group of urban artists.