TIMZ does not really do much to break stereotypes. He is an Iraqi-American and his album is entitled “Open for Business”, which features several pictures of him in the liner notes working the register at a convenience store. The most interesting question that arises from the release of “Open for Business” is whether the typical American rap fan is ready for an Iraqi-American emcee.

TIMZ does his best to answer that crucial question with the title track from “Open for Business” that opens the album with a bang. The beat is the only one on the disc supplied by Trackbangas, which is a shame, because it is probably the best on the album. It has a drum-driven marching sound with a really nice vocal sample that AZ would fall in love with. TIMZ, himself, seems inspired by it as he drops some of his best verses, this being the first:

“And I’m open for business
Just another day to put food on my dishes
And add some surveillance as my witness
Anyone who want it with TIMZ can get this
Got the .45 tucked below the register
I might leave it on the counter, that way it registers
Do not come through with any funny shit
Like motherfucker, give me all your money, shit
Shit you gotta kill me first
Either me or you, whoever’s aim is worse
I’ve been blessed with this curse
I ain’t had no days off
but this shit pays off (yea!)
And how can I complain about somethin’
When my Father had it hard and I ain’t heard him say nothin’?”

It’s obvious that TIMZ is not going to blow you away with amazing lyricism, but once in awhile he impresses with his sure-fired cockiness. He will remind most listeners of a less refined Young Jeezy, as it becomes clear that he is a big fan of using a single word twice in different contexts. For example, “I’m a boss, better understand, I can’t work for the man, I am the man!” Unfortunately, TIMZ does not have a particularly unique voice or character, despite his heritage, to be a superstar.

On the following track, “Public Enemy No.1”, there is a big-time feature from gangster-rap veteran, Spice 1. However, it is disappointing to find that Spice’s assist is extremely minimal, in that, he only provides a single line of the chorus. Nevertheless, this is another pretty good track, that is nicely complimented by a breezy flute beat. TIMZ touches on the core issue you would expect from an Arab-American rapper when he says, “And they think he may just know where Bin Ladin, been hiding”. But, this doesn’t come into full form until the next song.

“Iraq” is easily the most important song on the album, because it gives a glimpse of how Iraqi-Americans feel about the devastating war that the United States is in. Here are a few of the notable bars:

“They look and feel sorry for us
The great Iraq, can you believe it?
As if we need it
And look what they decide to give us
Blood from the world to fill up our rivers
And what? We’re supposed to be thankful?
You kill my family and I should say ‘thank you’?
No thanks, you got your tanks
I got my God, bring it on!”

I am not going to get into a political rant, because everyone has come to grips with the fact that the war in Iraq was, at very least, greatly mishandled. TIMZ’s sentiment on this song is pure anger towards the debacle in Iraq and George Bush specifically. The problem with the song is that TIMZ seems to identify himself as an Iraqi when it’s most convenient–like in this hasty track–and an American in most other circumstances.

After “Iraq”, TIMZ gets back onto the typical rap album trail with several tracks, including “How Can We” featuring Pearl. “How Can We” sounds like a faux-Neptunes beat. The song , itself, is a mundane attempt at a party track and Pearl’s chorus is akin to that of “It’s Hard Out There For A Pimp”. The “Hey! (remix)” follows suit, and is equally generic. As is, the sex anthem of “Put It On the P.O.L.E.” which is exactly what you expect it to be based on it’s title. “Coming Along” is the worst song on the album, it is a hyperactive dancehall track with an annoying snare drum pattern.

Mixed in there is, “Because of You”, which is a nice song about love and how the right woman can make a man complete. It’s cliche’, but the symphonic backdrop and light piano taps fit the theme well. This one was produced by Andrew “Al Rasoul” Chammas who, aside from the title track, shares the production work with E-Low with basically equal and inconsistent results.

Overall, “Open for Business” is a mixed bag and TIMZ does not do much to separate himself from any other rapper. Every once in awhile he drops a stupid line that makes you laugh, like, “”Real shit homey, I haven’t sold coke on the corner, I sold Coca-Cola in a liquor-stola”. Otherwise, he sticks to tired and true formulas as he pens his songs. His rhymes aren’t particularly good, nor are they terrible. “Open for Business” may help TIMZ put some of that dough into his pocket, rather than the register, but to answer the question whether America is ready for an Iraqi-American rapper is….yes. Though, TIMZ is not the one.

TIMZ :: Open for Business
5Overall Score