Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"John McCain? I'd rather vote for John McClane"

I hope everyone here who is able voted, it's obviously an important time and even if you have little faith in the system it's the only one we got, so why not work with it? Enough for my political talk, Crooked?

With this Slaughterhouse project gettin' everyone (read: me) all worked up I figured it would be as good a time as any to get up on Crooked I. Being the member of the crew I'm the least familiar with and the least confident in, I've been slightly worried about his inclusion. However after listening to a number of records from him I think it's safe to say I was under the wrong impression of dude.

Today being election day, it served as the perfect time to drop his latest project - The Block Obama II - and thankfully it serves as a far better listen than it's counterpart, The Block Obama: Hood Politics. This isn't to imply that round one was week, just lacking in continuity. The tracks didn't always come across as completely mastered properly and many of them, it seems, had been out for months.

All was not lost though as I hadn't been up on dude all the tracks were new to me and after getting over the overall presentation of the project and actually listening to Crooked go in over some tracks I was starting to hear what the fuss was about. While Vibe was running their competition to see who the best rapper alive was, I said that Game beats Crooked I and the c-section lit up like never before. And it wasn't people agreeing with me.

Needless to say that was also a large factor in my decision to finally sit down with some of his music. But my first introduction actually went back a bit more. Finding the collection of his 'Hip Hop Weekly' series I threw that into the iTunes and let it roll.

If anyone hasn't heard these tracks hit it up! Not only does he pretty much destroy new and old beats alike, but he is consistently delivering clever punchlines and serious discussions about rap, the streets, and his life. Hearing him clown on his peers is always entertaining and he is equally eloquent in praising those who he respects.

One thing that is evident in the Weeklies is a constant level of ferocious energy when he attacks the mic, but often times on both volumes of Obama he sounds laid back and more reserved. While I see a need for more energy on the weekly tracks, being as they serve a primary purpose far different than an album cut, I don't think anyone would be disappointed in some high energy album bangers!

This trend is similarly present on number two, however where volume one's presentation was lacking volume two plays out like a brand new album you just copped from the store and while not completely balanced it has more of that energy we saw for a whole year - we know you got it Crook, don't get lazy on us.

Aside from his level of energy Crooked I is a very impressive emcee on several levels. As we have seen on the Slaughterhouse joints and throughout the weekly run he can tear people up. But unlike so many successful battle emcees, he is capable of delivering a written piece of poetry as well.

On top of his skills with the written word, he also has no problem broaching any number of topics as he hits the usual rapper fare, but often with atypical flips on the generic, but will step into political discussions (if the title wasn't hint enough) and at the same time approach it as the man he is which is someone who grew up in the streets. As the west coast continues to look for the a west coast "Savior" I think Crooked I is the best contender no one wants to put on.

With the release of today's Block Obama II (I'm only twice through it so I can't say as much as I'd like - but it's really good) and his Weekly series being the inspiration for so many clones these days it's only a matter of time before Crooked gets us his official debut, but perhaps a Slaughterhouse record before as a teaser of what you can do when pushed by three kings.www.

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