It’s difficult to surmise anything about Stengy from their CD “Goin’ Ghetto Gold.” The album is released on Ghost Coast Entertainment, so the term “ghost coast” doesn’t help you figure out where they might be from geographically. The only person featured on the album who might be familiar is Mr. Shadow who could be the same Mr. Shadow based out of California. The reason figuring out where Stengy is from is so important is because if that happened then at least one distinctive thing could be said about them. Based on the music alone, the listener gets no real feel about what the group might be about other than they seem to be trying to get a hit. Every song is a generic take on a generic song concept that’s been done over and over by every rapper out.

Early on, the mystery of where Stengy is from is answered as “braska” is mentioned and “The ‘O’” turns out to be an anthem dedicated to Omaha. For those not in the know, Omaha, along with a few other smaller cities (Denver, CO and Tulsa, OK), actually has a pretty long history in rap. So much so that dedicated fans will shell out big dough for more obscure local releases. So while Stengy’s rap credentials shouldn’t be doubted because of their Midwest roots, their music isn’t beyond criticism. The best that can be said about these dudes is that they rap on beat and have decent enough voices. They don’t say anything about pimping or ridin’ on 24’s on “I’m A Pimp” that hasn’t already been said by countless others. Worst off, some guy named Champ the Hillbilly does his best Mike Jones impression on the track, even repeating his last line like Mike. I like Mike Jones, but there’s only room for one cat like him in the rap game.

Other tracks do nothing to help make these dudes stand out. “The ‘O’” declares that thugs in Omaha do the same thing thugs in other cities claim to do. “I Know” actually steals half of its hook from Silkk The Shocker’s “It Ain’t My Fault.” I actually like both “It Ain’t My Fault” and “It Ain’t My Fault II” but seven years is not a long enough time for even Diddy to jack and redo the concept. “Fake Ass Kings” calls out all those wack rappers who are trying to take the throne from the greats like Pac, Big, Jay-Z, and T.I. Yep, somehow naming your album “King” and claiming you are the “king” for a few years is enough to make you top 5 dead or alive. Aside from debating whether or not T.I. is even Top 50, there’s also the debate of whether a group like Stengy has any place trying to put any rapper in their place. “U Don’t Like Me” ends the album and it’s appropriate as I see many listeners having a personal connection to the song after listening to this album. Of course they probably won’t like the fact that Stengy threatens to do some rather unpleasant things to anyone who doesn’t like them, but then again that might be a welcome alternative to having to listen to another Stengy album.

To some the idea of “goin’ ghetto gold” is a glorious one, after all what could be better than selling 10,000 units independently and being known as a celebrity around your town. To others the idea of selling those same 10,000 units means you’ve failed to make a mark and are probably getting dropped by your label. Stengy though will probably not have to make the choice as to how to interpret their sales status as I see little chance of them reaching even that limited success. Stengy basically takes all the bad elements of today’s rap game and reproduces them poorly. Other acts are guilty of the same shortcomings, but some of them at least include one or two catchy tracks. Stengy is nowhere near the worst rap album I’ve heard, but it is up there as far as the most unoriginal. With some doper lyrics and more original material these dudes might be OK, after all they do have some decent and trunk rattling production. But as it stands, you should be “Stengy” with your money and look elsewhere to find your rap fix.

Stengy :: Goin' Ghetto Gold