Knoc-Turn'al :: L.A. Confidential Presents Knoc-Turn'al
Label: L.A. Confidential/Elektra
Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon
Sometimes it's just too easy to be right. When looking through the Sunday circular
for this week's new albums (contrary to popular belief I don't know when they
come out any more than you do) I noticed that Knoc-Turn'al was on sale at Best
Buy for $4.99. I turned to my wife and said, "Damn this shit's cheap -
even if it only has two good songs it's still cheaper than the twelve inch
singles or an EP would be!" Even then I was making plans to hit the store today.
Here's the catch though - this is not a full-length album. If you saw this ad
or perhaps one for a similar discount electronics/music store but haven't gone
to get that shit yet, this is your advance warning. We all know that the
record labels COULD afford to sell a full-length album at that price,
because they've been releasing new albums for $6.99 their first week for at
least the last twelve months. Six songs for five bucks is not a bad deal though,
especially when you consider that it's "THA MOTHAFUCKIN KNOC" as Missy Elliott
likes to say. Dr. Dre's next big thing is stepping out, but surprisingly this EP
is not on Aftermath at all; else this release would have been called "Aftermath
Presents" instead of "L.A. Confidential Presents Knoc-Turn'al."
Don't panic; Dre hasn't abandoned the upstart rapper at all. He produces
the "Str8 Westcoast (Remix)" and co-produces the hit single "Knoc" we all
know and love; and his protege Budda handles the beats on "Cash Sniffin'
Noses" featuring Slip Capone and Too $hort. The breakout song on this EP
is Knoc's latest single "Muzik" which has a CRUNCHY beat by Kayne
West, who is quickly becoming a hitmaker on par with Timbaland, DJ Premier and
Rockwilder. The lyrics could've been an afterthought with this song but Knoc
still rocks a unique interpretation of just what "Muzik" is to him:
"She's thick, she's bad, so clean, she's fine
She loves, she hates, she laughs, she cries
She hurts, she lies, she's Bonnie I'm Clyde
She's ghetto, she's real, she sings, she rhymes
She comes, she goes, she lives, she dies
She's sexy in thongs, she blows my mind
She stays in line, she's smart, she's funny
She's crafty and cunning in the game she's running"
The Hater-Ade drinkers among rap heads might be tempted to say, "Well that
shit's simple - anybody could have done that," but those same thirst quenchers
made the same comments about Juvenile's "Ha." If it's so easy, why didn't
you do it first? It doesn't matter though because if Knoc has learned one
thing from his time with Dre it's how to make hits. Maybe that's why the
"Str8 Westcoast (Remix)" is actually a sequel to "Bad Intentions," except
this time Knoc is rapping and Nate Dogg is doing the singing. If that wasn't
good enough, Shade Sheist, Warren G and Xzibit all drop some rhymes; the
latter showing he's long overdue for a new album:
"It's two-thousand and two, my backpack raps
got my backpack, strapped and filled with plaques
I ain't relaxed or laid back at home with my feet up
I drop product - lock and load, heat the streets up!
You weak fucks; shakin and dancin
Y'all takin pills? We takin penitentiary chances
I'm too advanced it's, never the same
When I hit it and quit it you wanna come get it I'm widdit
When I say that I'm widdit that means
I got a mean defense team that's gon' get me acquitted"
Knoc's rhyme style and delivery is ultimately the break point to whether
people will love or hate this EP. It's actually reminiscent of early
to mid-90's New York rap, when a lot of MC's were experimenting with
rhyming on and off the beat instead of sticking to structure. Think of
it this way - if you were trying to make a chihuahua walk a straight
line from one end of the block to the next, what are the odds he
wouldn't stop to sniff every fire hydrant and woman's behind on the way?
He still gets there eventually, just making a lot of unscheduled stops in
between because he feels like it, and that's the way Knoc raps. For
Knoc the style works even when it shouldn't, because his laid back
rap style mixes the pimp attitude of Suga Free with the vocal style of
a weeded Snoop Dogg.
It's often been said before in reviews that if a rapper would cut his
weak material and release a shorter album of his best shit, it would not
only be a better product but score higher in record reviews. With songs
like the posse-all-in "Let's All Roll" produced by Fred Wreck and Knoc's
self-produced "LA Nite-N-Day" being just as tight as the songs already
mentioned, six tracks of tightness pass by before you can even blink.
Knoc-Turn'al proves that when GZA said "Too many songs, weak rhymes that's
mad long; make it brief son, half short and twice strong" he was 100%
on the money - and so too is the Knoc with this excellent debut EP.
Music Vibes: 8 of 10
Lyric Vibes: 8 of 10
TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10
Originally posted: July 30, 2002