Co-Defendants :: The Patdown :: High Valley Music
as reviewed by Emanuel Wallace

Hailing from Lansing, Michigan, the Co-Defendants are comprised of J-Holla and 3rd Deggree (yes, two g's). Both artists had been embarking on their own journeys, but would collaborate with each other from time to time. Through the power of their fans, they were eventually paired together, officially signing with High Valley Entertainment and becoming known as the Co-Defendants. Intent on bridging the gap between urban and pop music, CoDef presents their debut album, "The Patdown."

The proceedings begin with the title track and "Name Right", which both help to establish the direction that this album is going to be going in. From the sound of things, the listener is going to get a taste of gritty hip-hop, but a much larger serving of what falls in to a sub-genre that I like to call hip-pop. Tracks such as "5'6"" fall into this category, mostly due to its hook that sounds like a carbon copy of Fat Joe's 2001 single, "We Thuggin'". Other songs like "Let's Go" and "Pretty Girls" are decent joints that follow the standard hip-pop formula, but they don't do much to stand out from the other songs out there using the formula. One of the highlights of the album is the aptly titled, "Rapid Fire", which features 3rd Deggree delivering two verses that ramp up in speed as the song progresses:

"My astronomical, phenomenal, cosmical wizardry
And verbal chemistry is lyrically killin' you mentally
Relentlessly, upon your injury, we'll continue the synergy
Physically obliterating my enemies"

"Crackin'", "Get It In", and "Gimme All That" are built on deep bass and hand claps that should work well in a club-type of setting, where the heavy bass can truly be appreciated. The orchestral sound combined with the content of "Trenches" help to make it another one of the stand out tracks on the album. Keeping it "crunker, liver, hyper, doper", the verses come off quite well:

"See I was born to a deadbeat, so mentally I buried my dad
I had to shed the weight so I could carry the flag
See I got a future, so I put the past behind me
But it still haunts me, because I got a past that's grimy
It's the present now, and we need to band together
If one of us falls, then we need to stand together
Go on some road trips, hop in a van together
And I take on any storm, I don't plan for weather
If you're part of the movement, this is what you need to do
Forget what everybody else is talkin' about, just believe in being you
Put so much of my heart and soul in this art that it's beating through
I'ma keep makin' these tracks that you march, sweat, and you breathe to"

The trial comes to a close with "Imma Make It" and "Sexy Time". On the latter, the listener gets a brief lesson in spelling in the form of "Ain't nothin' wrong with a little bit of S-E-X" repeated over and over. As I deliberated over the verdict, I had to remind myself of the charges that the Co-Defendants were facing. They've openly stated that they want to help bridge the gap between urban and pop music, and while they've made a valiant attempt, others have done it with greater success. That's not to say that this isn't a decent first effort... or offense, if you will. J-Holla and 3rd Deggree certainly show signs of great chemistry and it will only get better over time.

Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 6 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 6 of 10

Originally posted: October 6, 2009