Bodaiga :: The Game Praise Me :: Down Low Records/
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

The Game praise you? I'll be damned. Never even heard of your ass and you already got an endorsement from Jayceon Taylor. Not bad Bodaiga! I'd be careful though, that might put you on the wrong side of a rap war with G-Unit, especially with you wearing a parody of the "Free Tony Yayo" shirt on the inside that says "Free Tony Lugo" instead.

I'm just playin'; well except about that shirt. He really is wearing one on the insert of "The Game Praise Me," although it's clear as you flip through the rest of the liner notes that's just some family member who he feels was wrongly incarcerated. Who is Bodaiga though? Well his name would mean "wine cellar" if it was spelled properly, but he's not the long lost member of Tha Alkaholiks. His lead single "We Don't Play Dat" is produced by and features Lil Jon, but he's not the latest of Jon's crunked out proteges. Apparently he's Wisconsin's answer to hardcore rap. Don't laugh, I'm being serious this time. That aforementioned "Free Tony Lugo" shirt has the Wisconsin state map in the background, and the radio station he shouts out in his liner notes is in Janesville, Wisconsin. I'm hoping for Bodaiga's sake that's somewhere near Milwaukee or Green Bay. Just for laughs I looked it up on Wikipedia, and apparently there's a GM assembly plant there. Maybe Janesville is to Wisconsin what Flint is to Michigan.

Listening to Bodaiga is much less interesting than researching who he is or where he's from. Once you get beyond that Lil Jon single, which for better and/or worse sounds like every other Lil Jon hit, you've got a pretty mediocre rapper with pretty mediocre beats. Bodaiga's vocal range is... well okay, that's a lie. He doesn't HAVE a vocal range. In fact at times he doesn't even seem to have a pulse. He can be talking about shooting someone right in the face and not even change his pitch a little bit; which means either he's an incredibly cool customer or he's simply not talented enough to convey any emotion in his delivery. I'm not saying you have to emote on the level of Tupac Shakur or Jay-Z to be taken seriously, but listening to Bodaiga even Guru's biggest critics will have to admit he's not as robotic and monotone as they previously thought.

When Bodi is trying to come across as serious the beats on his album undermine his delivery. "Northern Alliance" was undoubtedly meant to be hard, but the Ginx beat makes it sound like the anthem to a children's television show. Nobs is far worse though - he's responsible for most of this album and buries it in total mediocrity. Even if Bodaiga doesn't have a pulse, songs with titles like "Don't Want War" and "We Ain't Gonna Stop" should. It's not that the beats aren't cleanly mixed or professionally mastered, they just lack anything that makes them interesting or intense and often sound like bad rip-offs of better songs. Nobs' sole exception might be "Snitch Report," which sounds brooding and ominous, and might work as an instrumental by itself. Hell with Bodaiga lyrics like these it might be better that way:

"The stressful night is comin, a hundred miles and runnin
A hundred thousand gunnin and you won't pop nuttin
You a joke stop frontin you imbeciles is woman
And get arouse when, Bow Wow start hummin"

Bodaiga's entire lyrical topic matter is testosterone laced machismo with thinly veiled homophobia and excessive amounts of violence solely to make up for a lack of anything relevant to say. The irony of "The Game Praise Me" is that truthfully Jayceon Taylor wouldn't waste his time on this guy, and not because he's from Wisconsin but because he's irrelevant no matter where he came from. For all the flack The Game gets about being a name-dropper, a punchline rapper, an Eazy-E wannabe and a gangsterish thug, he's still got a lot of things Bodaiga has not - here's a short list of just a few: wit, passion, humor, pathos, style, flair, delivery, personality, intelligence and an articulate vocabulary combined with excellent breath control. The Game would not praise Bodaiga, but Bodaiga would be well served to praise The Game and maybe try to learn a little something from a much better MC.

Music Vibes: 3 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 3 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 3 of 10

Originally posted: August 30, 2005