Roscoe :: Young Roscoe Philaphornia :: Priority Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"They call me Young Roscoe, the Philly fanatic
Silly sporadic, dippin in traffic, grippin the 'matic
Sharp as a guillotine, still a teen
The California sun just beamin, as I lean"

When you hear these words from Roscoe on the song "Smooth Sailin'," you'll have no doubt in your mind that he's Kurupt's younger brother. Even if the lines themselves weren't paying homage, the flow is eeriely reminiscent of the former Dogg Pound Assassin's style. Former? Well actually, you can't tell that from listening to "Young Roscoe Philaphornia." Despite what Daz said recently on "DPGC - U Know What I'm Throwin' Up" about Kurupt being X'd out of the crew, here's his younger brother throwin' it up TO the Pound, with numerous shoutouts and protestations of affiliation. If this doesn't make sense given that both albums appeared in stores around the same time here's a hint - Roscoe's debut LP was actually recorded LAST YEAR, but Priority Records has been keeping it on the backburner all this time.

Why? Who knows. There's really no good reason for this talent to have been put under wraps. To start with, his debut album is an exercise in slick production. The aforementioned song uses breezy samples of Earth, Wind & Fire laced up expertly by Def Jeff. "Get Flipped" will rattle the woofers and snap your fingers at the same time, thanks to DJ Quik's simply effective funk. Anybody familiar with Organized Noise won't be dissapointed by "What I Look Like," and "Shakedown" is a bouncy LT Hutton track that sounds exactly like the fire that Kurupt would spit on. In fact, this is another track that may have you catching his ghost at first; until you peep his flow closely and realize he may have the potential to upstage the elder MC:

"Roll with the top dropped, then get ya pop lock on
Blow me down dot com
Whenever you find time log on
Busters want beef, must not value front teeth
Please believe, I leave you gone
I came in the door, said it before
Roll up tryin to have fun, what you tweakin on?
Y.A. for life we loc'ed out, no doubt
'Scoe dizzle, where my nizzle, fo' shizzle, we all young
and we all off the hizzle with L.Tizzle what the hizzell
doin it like thizzle now it's official, c'mon"

Breath control is not a problem for the Young Philaphornian. In fact, Roscoe seems to blend his native Philadelphia with the funkdafied West coast style even better than Kurupt does. It's hard not to be won over with his vocal tone, charm, and humerous style on songs like the funked out Fingazz joint "5 Seconds":

"The wait is finally done with, the time is now
Y.A. like who want it, we in it to run it
The album's done nigga, Volume 1 nigga
Tabasco sause all over the track
That nigga Roscoe'll boss all over the track
He make the "Girls All Pause," yeah they open to that
Now who you know that flow talkin about approachin a mack
Without a stack of dough with some doe doe to roll fat
I'm a top notch nigga, Heckle & Koch trippa
Cut your arm of to get to the watch quicker
Not tryin to do it all, can't see Juvy hall
Too many booty calls my nigga - duty calls!
I'm used to ditching classes roamin through the halls
I run with the Young Assassins, that's where I belong
You put me on lockdown, I'ma sneak out back
And when the cameras ain't rollin, I sneak a sack
Let's make one thing clear, this ain't no democracy
Not while you listenin to my CD
You see right now, ain't no other rappers hot but me
Oh yeah, Pac and B.I.G., R.I.P.
But if you ain't feeling the same way, press eject
I'll even give you 5 seconds..."

Listening to songs like the Organized Noise lead single "Head to Toe" featuring Sleepy Brown and the potential future single "It's That Time Again" featuring LaToiya Williams, there's absolutely no comprehensible reason for Roscoe to have been held back. This talent's been ready to blow for a while now, and his lyrics brim with confidence far beyond his teenage years:

"You wanna party with a D.P.G., come and holla at me
I'll be up in Dogg House with all the homies, poppin my colla happy
Doin it big as ever
In the City of Angels, Devils and pretty weather
The 'Shaw packed with bumper to bumper traffic
All bouncin and 40 ouncin, hydraulic wit it
Alcoholic wit it, bumper paint and polished demolished
But we ain't trippin we got heavy wallets
Sittin on dubs, rollin on three wheels
On the phone with Muggs and I flow with B-Real
Just breezin
And all the non-believers eventually gon' end up believin"

No doubt. If Roscoe hasn't made a believer out of you with "Young Roscoe Philaphornia," then you weren't paying attention. It's a shame that due to poor promotion, a pushed back album, and continuing beefs between Kurupt and Daz that this album may get buried in obscurity, when it's 50 minutes of some of the best G-ride music you'll hear all year.

Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7.5 of 10

Originally posted: August 2, 2003