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Ever since Slaughterhouse became a group in 2009, I’ve recognized Crooked I as one of the most competitive rappers in the current hip-hop landscape. Verse for verse, bar for bar, he’s given the likes of Eminem and his fellow Slaughterhouse members a run for their money on multiple occasions, and has shown that he can rhyme with the best of them. Even when Slaughterhouse had that Rob Ford-like “drunken stupor” that was their Welcome To: Our House album, Crooked I was the one member that consistently kept things competitive. Here with his debut solo album, he shows that while he’s capable of rocking a whole album by himself, his strengths and weaknesses as an emcee remain the same.
Crooked I still kills every verse with superior flow and high-level rhyming, but the hooks on some of these songs sound kind of half-assed. They just don’t grab your attention like they should, although catchy hooks have never been part of what Crooked’s been known for. I think the guest features could’ve been better; aside from Tech N9ne, no one really stood out to me, and I think Crooked could’ve used more guests for his hooks at least. Crooked I brings more than just straight rappidy-rap though. We get a wide range of different types of songs here, some surprisingly honest from Crook, between songs like “A Lady Fell In Love” and “Nobody Cares” touching on real life issues, and others like “YODO” and “Sumthin From Nuthin” just having unique approaches to them (the former a play on Drake’s “YOLO” and the latter a beat made completely with vocal loops). Overall a good effort, but I think Crooked I can be better.
My Grade (based on how well I connected with it, no disrespect if your experience was different): B-
Come back to my blog tomorrow to see which album or mixtape came in at #25 on the countdown!
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