There’s no doubt that Bobby Wilson–or Kill Kill, as he calls himself on every track of the album–is down to do whatever to succeed in the hip hop business. The intro to his second track, “Difficult Times” tells the listener about how his girl left him, and he and his brother don’t speak anymore because of his ambition to be a famous rapper. This man is apparently willing to make it any cost to his personal life, and his delivery shows this clearly: His voice is forceful, and you can hear the hunger in his tone, the hunger of a man who has put all his hopes into his rhyme.

But hunger alone does not make a dope emcee, and there is too much filler and same ol, same ol feeling on “Manipulation” The first track has an adequate enough beat, ( the beat to the remix “Difficult Two,” is much better, but the rhymes there are weaker) and the chorus is catchy, but “That’s my Life” which follows it, is too played, with the Roger Troutman Voice box on the chorus, and a beat too reminiscent of mediocre ’93 G-Funk. Nothing new is said, which is forgivable if it’s said in a new way. But it isn’t.

“Ghetto Individuals” almost stands out, as the beat thumps nicely and the production peaks on this song, foregoing the cheezy synths and whiny singing choruses that appeared on the prior songs, for just strong voices speaking loudly. Kill’s delivery almost overcomes lyrics such as “Niggas spell my name K-I-double muthafuckin L, bangin for my niggas in Jail, Oh well” He goes on to hope that the east/west feud heats up again just so he can represent Watts and fuck with people. That ruined this song for me.

Another stumbling block are the completely inane intros and interludes. The interludes, especially “Skit Three” are stupid, lacking humor and adding absolutely nothing to the album but a longer running time

And at times, although I bet he hates the comparison, he sounds like Tupac. Songs like “Cry Sometime” bemoan the inner conflict of the sensitive gangster, the hood with a conscience. When handled correctly, the tracks can evoke a poignancy that stabs at the heart, but Wilson’s efforts sound rote and standard. A few couplets from Kill Kill almost rescue the song, but as with the album, it’s a case of too little, about 4 years too late.

And with songs like “Ghetto Politican” and “Sample Pressure” he descends completely into mediocrity, not bad, but nothing I’d put on voluntarily. “Sample Pressure” is return of the synths and singin choruses, as Kill Kill continues his slightly annoying habit of talking for about a minute before he finally starts rappin, as on cuts like “Difficult Times” and the prior “Ghetto Politician”

“Cheda Fo Eva” is definitely the best song on the album, however. It sounds as if it will join the majority of the album’s mediocrity from the opening notes, but the slow rockin beat drops, and sweet harmonies flood the chorus, lending a “It Was A Good Day” feel to the jam. Very listenable song, if only for the smooth groove of the instrumental Kill Kill is rockin over, because the lyrics are basic.

While Kill Kill gives it his all on this piece (and you know he does, his strain and sweat is in his delivery) his all just isn’t enough to hold me. Maybe if it’d came out about 4 years ago, when this style hadn’t yet played itself out, more praise outside of Watts might have rained down on him, but as it is, in 99, songs like “My Game” “The Man in Me” “Makin Money” and “Trouble Days” are dangerously close to cliche now to be taken seriously. Mr. Wilson’s probably gonna have to stay hungry for now.

Bobby Wilson :: Manipulation