Has Apollo Brown recently turned into a salutary handyman for Trueschool-dodderers who’ve lost orientation? Especially, since his easy-going boom-bap-nostalgia already helped D.I.T.C-legend O.C out of his creative irrelevance in April. Now, the drum machine from Detroit has teamed up with one of HipHop’s favorite late bloomers, Guilty Simpson, whose international omnipresence as a guest star made even die-hard-fans raise their eyebrows. However, the biggest surprise is that Brown has actually managed to re-animate the wrecked Stones-Throw-crank. The two musicians celebrate their first track with a dry hometown-anthem by the name of »Reputation«, even though it’s not quite sure whether Guilty is talking about Detroit’s fate or about his very own (somewhat ruined) reputation. One shouldn’t expect any surprises from »Dice Game«, the Brown/Simpson-axis harmonizes with traditional sample-aesthetics and the classic MPC-arrangements in the style of 1993’s RZA-school. The fact that Apollo Brown is not trying to pander to obvious golden-era-references like the »C.R.E.A.M.«-loop or the »Get Out of My Life, Woman«-break and instead comes up with a fresh instrumental canvas for Simpson’s swampy organ is somewhat remarkable. On the other hand, Guilty does exactly what he always does: murmuring reality-rap, battle and braggadico-hyperboles hard as a bone and one or two introspective prayers. The album is coherent and high-quality, but doesn’t leave the safe 90-bpm-waters during the 16 tracks. In summary, Guilty Simpson is slightly back with »Dice Game«, while Apollo Brown has landed his second throwback-stroke of 2012 and has therefore saved his seat among the end-of-the-year-lists of all rucksack-rappers.