Mopacino :: The Underground King :: Associate Productions
as reviewed by Patrick Taylor

[The Underground King] Mopacino is an MC from Cleveland. He's Arab-American, and the mixtape starts off with an intro that informs the listener that if you aren't Arabic, you aren't getting your money back. It makes his frequent use of the N word suspect. I guess if it's good enough for Khaled, it's good enough for him.

His bio mentions how much growing up a Muslim, Arab-American influenced who he is today. While he does rap about his struggles, you only get glimpses of his religious and ethnic background from this mixtape. On "Mopacino Hot" he raps:

"You ain't had my pain, my strengths and my struggles
So you don't appreciate the way I had to hustle
You didn't catch the blame with the planes hit and tumbled the towers
Make no mistake you ain't my body double"

For the most part, it's standard hip hop about driving fast in cars, getting high, getting drunk in clubs, and being a badass. Mopacino is a big, mean-looking dude, so I'm not questioning his badassness, but it's not that interesting to hear him rap about. His delivery doesn't always help. He has a slow, lazy flow, as if his vocals were being screwed and chopped or he had chugged a whole gallon of syrup. More often than not he sounds bored, as if he couldn't be bothered to bring any enthusiasm to his delivery, or any more creativity to his rhymes beyond "I'm the shit/and the toilet's broken."

Mopacino's vocals work best when pared with a mid-tempo, melodic beat, and the album is full of those. "Carvin' Da Block" brings some heat, with it's goofy video game soundtrack beat. 

The melodic trick backfires on "Apologize" which uses a chipmunked version of the Timbaland/OneRepublic song "Apologize." Equally unsuccessful is his attempt at reggae, "Hot and Heavy." I was more into the mellow "Puff the Magik,"  in which he complains "Losin' my religion/man I'm tryna keep my faith." The jazzy cautionary tale "Be Clear" is another keeper, as is "About Me," in which Mopacino sing/raps in a style not totally different than Sugar Ray. It's suited to his voice, and he makes it work.

All told, there are about four keepers on this 16-track free mixtape, which are decent odds given the price. He's got an official release coming out soon, so we'll see if he's able to have a better batting average over an actual album, or if he remains in the underground.

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

Originally posted: June 8, 2010