Sensational is an emcee from Brooklyn who originally made his debut on the 1993 Jungle Brothers single, “Troopin’ on the Downlow,” using the name Torture. He made his solo debut in 1997 with the album Loaded With Power. Over the years, he’s had his ups and downs, but he’s recorded with the likes of Handsome Boy Modeling School and Spectre, and put out releases on labels like Ipecac. For his latest release, he’s teamed up with prolific Calgary producer The Dirty Sample to make an album called The Spot Rocker.

When someone like Sensational has been around as long as they have and go through all the ups and downs that life and the music industry can throw at a person, you don’t need them to reinvent the wheel when they put out a new album. You just need it to be good and showcase all the things you like about that artist. And that’s exactly what you’re getting with The Spot Rocker. The Dirty Sample is throwing down ten tracks of dusty, gritty boom bap with lots of subtlety and killer pockets, which sets up Sensational perfectly to do his thing on the mic. And that’s just what he does over the course of the album, coming up with some clever shit talk, sprinkling in a few personal rhymes, and talking about his love of hip hop which has carried him through thick and thin. He’s never really raising his voice or dropping a really big hook, but he’s got so much charisma and he’s so good with his bars that he manages to keep his listeners engaged despite this. It’s just track after track of really solid hip hop from two veterans who know exactly what they’re about.

The Spot Rocker is exactly what you’d expect from an album from Sensational and The Dirty Sample, and I mean that in the best way possible. They’re not trying to be anything but themselves, and their chemistry together lines up perfectly to make an album of classic hip hop with no filler.