Mixtape Review: Crooked I – Block Obama Part 2
‘My 16′s so fly, I’ll call ‘em jail bait’
‘I used to paint pictures with my 16′s, now I spit plasma big screens, look at the vivid scenes’
‘I see these n*****s claiming long beach and ain’t stepped a foot in this city, in MY city, Crooked is Biggie’
Impressed? You should be. Crooked I’s second installment of The Block Obama series is a fire tape, jam packed with quotables that are surprisingly easy to digest and not over complex. If you look at this tape objectively, it should have never come out. From 1995 onwards Crooked has consistently been beaten down by the music industry, from signing to Noo Trybe and the whole label getting dropped by Virgin, to signing with Death Row and Suge Knight… well… being Suge Knight. Even half of this experience would have your favourite rapper flipping burgers by now, but it seems to have made Crook stronger, and now one quarter of the new Slaughterhouse has found his running pace. Click below for full review.
The tape starts off with the Circle Gang Anthem, a rich horn driven bass thumping head nodder which Crooked really sinks his teeth into and the best record on the tape. This is the complete Crooked I that will get this artist longevity. He shows that he can spit harder than the beat and throws in more words than most MC’s can deliver clearly between each kick drum. It’s a classic record. Another classic is ‘American Me’ – a haunting stab at the american institution and the physical and social fatalities of war. Crooked is aware that that wack rappers are quick to point at ‘kufi wearing’ social rappers so he keeps it witty with pre-chorus lines like, ‘we need more like Barack Obama, cos Osama is in the Bahama’s with his baby mama’.
There is a lot more weight on this tape. If you need verses there is still the (slightly under-produced) ‘Can I Talk To You’, ‘Dream Big’ ft. Akon, and ’3 B*tches’ ft. Knoc Turnal. However with very strong verses on over 75% of the tape, some of the content on the record seems a little unnecessary. The record ‘On My Mama I’m a Boss’ – Crooked seems to preach to the converted about his status. With candy artists like Ne-Yo all over the media claiming ‘Boss’ status, it almost seems a downgrade for Crooked to make a song about it and it’s the most skip worthy record on the tape, however the flawed flossing is made up for on ‘Do It Like Me’.
The rumour is that Crooked’s 2009 debut ‘B.O.S.S. (Beginning of Something Serious)‘ is not to far away. In the current climate, great artists are not selling records (sorry EPMD), so I’m hoping that Crooked just puts out a dozen fire records with some uptempo beats for the clubs and not to much baller talk. The one thing that you can’t take away from great records is critical acclaim, and this tape has got it. You can pick it up at iTunes, it’s more than worth the money. Shout to DJ Fricktion at Def Jam UK for sending it over.
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