When I first heard about this collaborative project I was pretty excited, as well as intrigued on what it would sound like. Count Bass D & Insight are two favorites of mine, but for somewhat different reasons in terms of their approach to MCing and even production styles. However, the admiration is similar when it comes to appreciation for their diverse range of talents; Insight (MC, Producer, DJ, Software Developer, etc...) & Count Bass D (Producer, MC, DJ, Instrumentalist, "Comedian", etc...).
For "Risk Takers", Insight is a force of aggressive and focused, yet sometimes erratic, energy. Meanwhile, Count Bass D delivers challenging words in a relaxed matter-of-fact manner with his trademark "out the box" idealism. The one "surprise" on the album is that it is not equally or collaboratively produced. The bulk of the production is handled by Insight, who does a great job with the beats and "Risk Takers" might be his overall best produced album to date. Count Bass D does contribute one interlude and one track, "Seem Phoney". Immediately once that track drops it just screams that Count Bass D style, which Insight sounds great rhyming over, so it would have been nice to have explored that aspect more. The only other producer is Dr Singe on "Leverage Of Combat", which features Kool Keith.
Speaking of guests, the album has only a few others; Pacewon and, long-time Insight collaborator, Dagha. Each guest represents appropriately on their featured track, but the focus of the album remains on the two main players. The album isn't really centered on concepts so much, although they do effectively cover many key issues. One of the best songs is the title track, "Risk Taker". The song excellently outlines the meaning and challenge that the album title suggests. Here Insight comes off with some of his best quotes from the album, as he rhymes, "Insight is a risk taker...Moved to Europe, while others dream of crossing the Equator", "What they have, I don't got it, but see, I come as I am/and you're a risk taker simply by rising where you stand", "Risk takers stand out, not only at the pinnacle/individuals thinking critical are original", & "I've a lot of innovative songs you didn't hear/Best rapper who also created computer software." Although catchy quotes is a true Count Bass D strength, he takes a different route here by outlining a variety of different relationship short-comings and risks, but then ends the song with the perfect quote, "You think you're doing well because you ain't got no haters/well people only love you because you're not a risk taker..." The scratch hook maintains the song perspective with the Intelligent Hoodlum criticizing, "You're a typical prototype from off the block..."
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The album covers a variety of vibes and moods from the slow and menacing "Break Suckas", the slightly spacey but no nonsense of "Not My Style", the grown man boom bap of "Seize The Movement", the cinematic dramatics of "Second Ambush" or the uptempo verbal assault of "Which One Remix". In the end, "Risk Takers" does a great job of mixing the contrasting styles of Count Bass D & Insight and allows them to work complimentary to each other. A fine accomplishment in it's on right. The fact that you get a great album with lots of replay value just sweetens the deal...