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Twelve Steps

Plant Music

8 /10

If Twelve Steps taught me the error of my ways, i.e. Top 40 radio, then DJ/producer Tittsworth straightened out my life. The clever mixture of hip-hop inspired beats, guest appearances, and dance floor mentality pumped me up so much that I’m already on my way to the club. The Baltimore native revitalized music and made it fun again. The man with the dirty-sounding surname paid respect to the “B-more” sound and represented it very well.

The album title, Twelve Steps actually has twelve tracks- nice one. The opening track, “Haiku” or “Step One” is techno-friendly and captures the feeling of stepping into the club flawlessly. Listen to the track closely because the sound manipulation pops ears as well as provides a worthy prelude to the rest of this hot record.

On to “Step Two” and already I’m amused with the song title- “WTF.” Make room for all the break dancers out there because this is their anthem. The cameo appearances are a dime a dozen and they really do take it back to the old school. Chicago’s own Kid Sister comes in with her infectious speed rapping, Pase Rock of Spank Rock fame lays down a few fun rhymes, and finally Philly-native Santi White of Santogold tears up the chorus. Hook up with your party people and get hyped up with this club banger.

The shenanigans of “Step Three,” otherwise known as “Broke Ass Nigga,” prove that DJs have a sense of humor too. This hilarious track sounds like an updated version of “No Scrubs,” minus TLC. This song delivers witty rhymes guaranteed to tickle a funny bone or two, because without a doubt the topic is amusing as hell. To top it all off, the pauper makes a guest vocal appearance, asking for everything but the kitchen sink- talk about a bailout plan. Poor guy can’t get a break as DJ Assault rips him a new one. This track pays homage to all those funny 90s rap songs such as “Baby Got Back.”

After having penned hits for Mary J. Blige and Jennifer Lopez, New York City songwriter Michelle Bell performs the fourth step, “Almond Joy,” with silky perfection. Tittsworth’s collaborations with talent from all walks of life demonstrate artistic versatility. Backing him up are the Roll Wit Us All-Stars with their quick rhymes that flow right into this melody-heavy tune. Accompanied with an infectious hook, get ready to bounce to this.

Mixing into a heavy segue, “Step Five,” called “Bumpin’,” signals the second half of the album. As most songs are nowadays, this is a story-telling track about misbehavior. This song in particular can be described as a night through the eyes of an overly cautious party host. For example, he tells his friends repeatedly to watch out for the table. This track provides a fun and relatable insight into house parties and the woes of cleaning up after the mess.

The up-tempo track featured in “Step Six,” called “911” starts with noises that sound like birds chirping or objects coming down from the sky. In an effort to showcase his appreciation for house music, Tittsworth calls forth an anthem-like sound in this track. In addition, lyrical MC, Stimulus from Brooklyn makes a special appearance. Most definitely, the east coast is doin’ it big.

As fun as this title is for “Step Seven,” it makes me want to be at that level while listening to this blazin’ joint. “Drunk as Fuck” epitomizes the height of the night and complete disregard to any and all inhibitions. The marriage of hip-hop and house is a match made in heaven. Honest drunks, pay attention because Tittsworth is playing your song! Don’t forget the Federation, a west coast hyphy group that does it big. In addition to the hot beat, be thoroughly entertained by the over-sexed lyrics that girls will still dance to. For instance, this beauty: “cut up the pussy like the movie, ‘Hostel.’” On paper, it screams a comedy, and the Federation just gave our beloved DJ enough innuendo to last a lifetime. It’s a memorable track on so many levels on top of being a bass-bumpin’ three minute stand-out that will tear the roof off the club.

As if this album did not introduce the world of “B-more” up into this point, “step eight,” called “B-Rockin” breaks it down for you. Snapping fingers and a screaming crowd begs for more as Kenny B shout outs to all the Deejays. Tittsworth pays tribute to this energetic genre that is farther reaching than the streets of Baltimore. The man on the turn tables makes a bold statement that transcends American soil as Europeans bow down to deejays like music royalty.

On the main-stream tip comes this R&B/pop staple called, “Here He Comes,” featuring powerhouse artists Nina Sky and Pitbull. “Step Nine” is a hip-shaking ditty with a chorus phrasing that sounds like the female version of “Maneater,” stating, “Ohh here he comes.” The radio-friendly nature of this song could possibly put Tittsworth on the map or at least on the Billboard charts.

As if the title didn’t describe the intent of this album already, “Tear the Club Up 2008,” or “Step Ten,” explains it all in a nutshell. This 2008 spin to the club classic by DJ Class mixes together hand claps, horns and chants. It puts together new millennium flair to an anthem standard; another delightful surprise in the Tittsworth bag of tricks.

Almost to the home stretch, “Step Eleven,” called “4:21” has only one problem- it’s seven seconds short of it’s total running time. The futuristic dance vibe is undeniable and the record scratch-up towards the end is a pleasant addition to this thump-heavy song. It is up for interpretation, but maybe after 4:20 it’s the first full minute of being high and Tittsworth wants us up there with him.

We finally make it to the last step. The reward? “Tittsworth’s Theme,” pulls out all the stops so the DJ can truly end his project in style. It’s the most sophisticated track compared to the previous “bump and grind” ones. It conjures up images of runway shows with top designers. It still plays upon the futuristic vibe and high energy found on “4:21.” Tittsworth makes his curtain call with this track and the show is over. Could he “B-more” impressive?

-Gail Navarro