Upon first encountering this CD, I thought I was going to hear some rap either straight outta Roswell, New Mexico, or from somewhere in the Nevada desert. There's a vintage green-skinned alien posing on the cover of this album, one hand on his crotch, the other proudly showing off his iced-out Capitolize Records piece. Notice the accurate rendition of the four-fingered hands. Everybody can photoshop a diamond-incrusted name logo, but it takes the legendary Pen & Pixel Graphics to come up with such demented genius. Later I found out that Disalusion is actually reppin' Santa Rosa, California. Too bad. I would love to see some aliens getting into the rap game someday. They're already among us anyway. Frankly I'm tired of all the rumors about who the 'alien rapper' really is. It's time to stop hiding and represent for the green people.
For now I guess Disalusion will have to do. To tell the truth, to a lot of folks his CD might as well be the product of alien adaption to the human form of expression called rap. Ever heard one of those stereotypical alien dummies in sci-fi flicks talk? They usually engage in this stiff, slurred, chopped up lingo, while slowly nodding their huge heads and making sedated hand gestures. Add some more bass to the voice, and I think we got Disalusion. I'm not kidding. It's that mumbling, stumbling staccato so deeply buried in local reality rap you can't even trace its origins. So if it brings you any comfort, know that Disalusion is not the only man on the planet doing that sort of thing. It's a local phenomenon people apparently have gotten used to.
The only rapper coming from a similar background to make it big recently is Project Pat. But compared to Disalusion, Project Pat is an accomplished poet. Running down the list of only the most basic reality rap catch phrases and clichées ("heart of a hustler", "heard my final call", "ain't no bitch in my blood", "real players don't pop off at the mouth", etc.), Disalusion fails to inject even the slightest dose of wit into his act. Chances are you will not even notice when he's trying to be funny: "I play that role, do what it take to please ya / if I could suck my own dick, I wouldn't need ya," he tells a lover. Disalusion knows about wordplay, as evidenced by song titles like "2 Cold to Be a Hot Boy" or "Alien Hated", he even has the occasional punchline like "you're talkin' bad 'bout me, that means I'm doin' good," but that's as far as it goes. More likely than unearthing lyrical treasure, you'll run into awkward expressions such as "blood is thicker than water, but money is thicker than blood."
For someone who says of himself: "I don't talk much, I use a pen and a pad / I write when I'm mad," Disalusion doesn't wield a very mighty pen. "Dear Diary" is introduced by an eerie Scarface quote ("Sometimes I think I'm goin' schizophrenic"), but as soon as Disalusion starts his entry, you pity this poor diary for the dull monologue it has to endure:
"Me and you need to sit down and conversate
you're my only true homie and never actin' fake
I'm at that point in my muthafuckin' life
everything is dark and I just can't see the light
I can't figure out what's wrong with me
Diary, you're the only one that gets along with me"
That's the type of simple stuff being served here. With such minimal eloquence, Disalusion's lyrics tend to fall completely apart as soon as he gets less specific. Example: "One nation one groove, don't make a bitch move / I'm comin' smooth on a solo mission, ain't got shit to prove." Obviously, the only point of 'one nation one groove' being in there is to have something to rhyme. To his credit, Disalusion tends to speak on what he knows. He's even got an "Autobiography" detailing his life's ups and downs, where he mentions a regular job and his passion for rapping. There's no fake baller status being portrayed here. People like that get called out on "Fuck You": "Rappin' lost its purity / nobody raps from the heart, it's all about cars and jewelry." The reflective "War With Our Own People" may be the best representation of Disalusion's caring side. Unfortunately, that doesn't make him a better rapper. Add some misguided excursions on rap flows, and you have someone who is very hard to listen to, regardless of any message.
In the past, many less skilled rappers have gotten over thanks to dope beats. "Area 51: Rosetown Killa Grounds" doesn't have that potential. Though the musical range covered by producers K-9, Playa-T and others is wide enough, starting with some spooky, long-winding keyboard sequences on "Area 51", morphing into trademark mobb shit on "One Man Gang" etc., the music on this album rarely grabs your attention. The typical balance between somber and shrill is kept, but too often the beats sound like the ones Disalusion criticizes on "Fuck You":
"Real producers don't exist no more
everybody has a keyboard in their room from a local music store
You don't produce, all you do is make shitty beats
then you sell 'em to a rapper who can't even stay on beat"
As ironic as it may sound, some people may pass the exact same verdict when it comes to "Area 51: Rosetown Killa Grounds". Still, not all hope is lost. Listen close enough and you'll notice the unusual use of horns in some of the tracks. In "Fuck You" a bit of sax gets mixed with a quirky keyboard, while "Dis, Runs This" is a potent instrumental that makes you wonder what this CD would be like without Disalusion and friends plastering it with their simplistic rhymes.
Music Vibes: 3 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 1 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 2 of 10
Originally posted: February 4, 2003