various artists :: Reality Raps :: Heaven Sent
as reviewed by John Book

If you want to take a listen to what is being done within the current breed of West Coast hip-hop artists, "Reality Raps" is just a small example of what is out there, and for the most part this compilation is not too bad.

"The 'H'" by Highness is one of the best tracks on here, getting into that classic G-funk style that should appeal to DJ Quik fans, but without the usual cliches that came with the genre. If I had to pick a personal favorite, that would go to Hungry Hooligans' "Blazin'". The flows, in both English and Japanese, are extremely tight and it makes you want to hear more music from these guys.

"He's Cold", a collaboration between J-Sin, Bobo, Skitz, Fettaci, Csteros, and Black Mel, is one of those songs which shows why the posse track still works: everybody is out to make a bold statement within their timeframe, knowingly trying to outwit the rapper before and after them, but somehow it manages to gel together and show how well these rappers are together. The struggles of inner-city life has a bit of hope in the eyes of Bob O, whose "I'ma Make It" offers positivity during dark and troubled times:

"Yeah, I'm hoping I go to heaven after I exit this place
I know it's coming for me soon, but I've been ducking it, mang
I'm lucky to say I did live for 21 years
while most of my peers is dead and doing time in the pen
I struggle for years with this, trying to get over the pain
Of seeing my niggas die for nothing, nothing is gained
What you want is (to) say I fucked up when I was going to school
I used to get kicked out every year for acting like a fool
The best thing I could do is say I love you to my mother
Cause she's the one that gave me the game to stay alive in this motherfucker"

The 93 second "Reality Raps Outro" could have worked as a complete song, but it leaves you hanging for the next verse which never shows up. At times some of the raps come off on the rough/unpolished edge, but with a little work they could all become unbeatable. "Reality Raps" shows quite a bit of potential for the artists and producers involved.

Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10

Originally posted: December 10, 2002