My uncle once told me something when I forgot to help him paint the house: "With great power comes great possibility." No, erm, great ability. Hang on, wrong delivery... Oh shit, responsibility! I don't know, he said a lot of things. Then he died. Some tosser shot him for his car, even though it was butt ugly. Anyway, I avenged his ass and hunted down the robber tosser bad-haircutness. Although I realised years later it was the wrong bloke. Lawsuit! I guess I'll be out of the superhero game for a while. Now, if only there were a motley crew of heroes for hire...
Well, you are all in luck - I know just the guy, DJ Obi. Actually he has some friends out in Californ-I-A. And he brought them altogether on this pretty solid mixtape. Plus, this mixtape is actually mixed - miracle! Maybe it isn't mixed to any great degree but bless his cotton socks, at least DJ Obi tries. The musical beat hijacking is really rather good too, with a generally excellent choice in instrumentals: Lil Kim's Kanye-helmed "I Came Back For You" which segues into Biggie's legendary "Who Shot Ya." As a musical experience it is most pleasing, and it is nice to hear a DJ take care in choosing the right stuff for his MC's to spit over.
Speaking of the MC's, there are quite a few of them, and they are generally all of similar abilities, even if they specialize in completely different areas. You have Kaliban, who likes to drop battle lyrics and punchlines; Obvious has a smoother, more accessible flow; Big Swish is very solid and confident; Avatar is basically a lunatic escaped from a nearby asylum who somehow manages to rap on point with such bizarre delivery that you can't help but like him (think Murdoch from the A-Team). Last, but definitely not least, is Meyer Wolfsheim - this guy has personality to burn, and even if some of his rapping is questionable at times, he has a psychotic and unique quality, which will leave me unable to forget him. Truly, he is a strange fruit, but has character by the bucketload - and that counts for so much.
All in all, this is a promising mixtape put together nicely enough by Obi that it warrants a potential purchase. It isn't going to save the rap game, or the West Coast, but it is an indicator that there are interesting cats in the City of Angels. They also happen to be raw as hell, and aren't going to win any awards for lyricism - but they seem to be at the beginning of their journey, rather than experienced rappers that will never improve, so any mistakes they make are forgivable. Plus, hey, it is a mixtape, not an album. And I will never forget Meyer Wolfsheim til the day I die. These guys could eventually be the heroes of Cali, and good luck to them.
Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10
Originally posted: March 25, 2008