Well, I ended the recent Stones Run yesterday, so let’s take a total left turn, shall we? YES WE SHALL!
Anyway, if you want a review, GO READ MARSHALL’S. He went so far as to give it an A+.
Note: My copy is the 2CD version, with CD2 having 4 extra tracks. It’s the only version I’ve ever seen, in the shops. Lots of appearances here too, like Dr. Dre (two tracks), Jay-Z, Drake, Mary J. Blige, MC Eiht, Jay Rock, and Anna Wise. Uncredited appearances include Pharell Williams, Chad Hugo (Neptunes), and Schoolboy Q.
Anyway, since I can’t see the point in trying to top what Marshall wrote, I’ll just write a bit from my gut…
I should preface this by saying that I don’t listen to a whole ton of hip hop, so I have no real cred here, but I will say that I know what I like when I hear it, and this record is one that I loved by instinct. This really is an incredible record. Every song is its own animal, yet the whole thing manages to flow as a complete album should. The bass is huge, the flow is relaxed yet also quick, the voices span the whole range, and the songwriting is fascinating. The lyrics are largely quite excellent.
And even with that, there were a couple of things I could have done without… and I should preface this by saying that living here in my white middle class existence in Canada, I don’t know the first thing about what it’s like to live in Compton. At all. So probably this stuff is normal and expected.
I am not much for skits on rap records. I know there’s a tradition, but to me, it wrecks the flow, not unlike What’s He Building In There, on Tom Waits’ (otherwise perfect) Mule Variations album. They’re interesting the first run-through, but after that it’s just distraction. I’d leave them off. I could also do without all the n-word and hos crap. I know it’s pervasive in the genre, and I have to assume that they actually talk like that, but it’s sad, because it makes them sound dumber than they are. And I really do not believe that these people are dumb, not for one second.
Anyway, I did still enjoy this record a ton, it’s musically interesting, and a lot of what he has to say is intelligent and well-told. I just hope that, with maturity, his next record will leave out the silly childish crap and move towards the promise of even more greatness that I absolutely can hear in this effort.