The name Hush should be familiar to Detroit-area residents who have been following their hip-hop scene over the past ten years, but he is perhaps not well known outside it. I was lucky enough to pick up a copy of an EP entitled “Episode One” while still living in Eastern Michigan that featured both producer/rapper Hush and his partner MC Ill in a group called Da Ruckus. Unfortunately despite the fact they were down with Eminem and that he made a guest appearance on a dope track titled “We Shine,” the group never really moved beyond local status and Hush eventually decided he was better off going solo. Looking at the list of guest stars on 2005’s “Bulletproof” one might believe that was the right choice: Nate Dogg, Talib Kweli and D12 members like Bizarre and Kuniva all make cameos. Not surprisingly Eminem himself can also be found in the mix, on a D12 all-star song titled “Off to Tijuana”:

“Put the money in the back, bitch, this is a stickup
Anybody who moves is getting picked up, off the ground
This is the sound, this is how it’s going down
If I’m going down, then you’re going down (down)
Now this is the plot: we pull this off, then we split the pot
We get caught, I’m peeling off, the deal is off
But if we can pull this caper, then we can get this paper
Then I’m going, off to Tijuana
Come on, I’m ready if you are”

Eminem can also be found behind the scenes providing production for Hush on songs like “Hush is Coming” and the aforementioned “Off to Tijuana.” Of course Hush has already proved once before that if having close ties to Eminem made you a star, he would be as well known as Marshall Mathers by now. Hush has to do it on his own, and even though he shares billing with Kweli on “Let it Breathe” he proves he can hold it down with his own set of old school references:

Hush: “Yeah right, cause +Rock Steady+’s grooving
It +Ain’t No Half Steppin’+ and Kane’s out there proving it
Hip-Hop on the screen we +Krush Groove+
+Beat Street+ +Breakin’+ +Electric Boogaloo+
So fresh and def plus we’re +Top Billin’+
In full effect you know we’re +Cold Chillin’+”

Talib: “Send a salute to – Masta Ace and Craig G
The original Jay-Z style, Original Flavor style, take a bow
It feels good, that’s my word, like the first time
I heard +Illmatic+, the feeling of still having it”

This track actually has the chance to be a monster crossover hit, thanks to the smooth flowing raps of both artists and the floating Indian style melody produced by Julian Bunetta. Bunetta provides excellent tracks throughout the album, such as the pounding “Put ‘Em Down (Shake the Ground)” and the subtle boom bap of “Superstar.” The latter track shows a surprising self-awareness on Hush’s part, realizing people may be quick to dismiss him as just another friend of Eminem’s even though so many fly by night rappers treat the art “as a +Road to the Riches+ like Kool G. Rap.” Hush’s long overdue solo album won’t thrust him into the upper echelons of hip-hop’s elite overnight, but it certainly proves that he’s not a flash in the pan MC or a rapper just looking to get a break because of his connections. With or without MC Ill or his friend Marshall, Hush can definitely stand on his own.

Hush :: Bulletproof
7.5Overall Score