Famed in the South’s hardcore underground for both his flow and his feud with Mike Jones (Chamillionaire was not the only one), Houston rapper Magno the Magnificent has had a whole slew of albums you may have never seen in record stores if you’re North of the Mason-Dixon. Do you have “Collection Plate” or “The New Print” in your library? Then you’re up on thangs going all the way back to 2002, and you probably have his album “1st Round Draft Picks” with Mike Jones too, released before financial issues caused an irreconciliable split between the two that caused Magno to leave Swishahouse and start the label Wild Life Records. Unfortunately for Magno his small imprint didn’t seem to have the distribution power of the Swisha family, and 2004’s “Magno Mixes Vol. 1” appears to have been his last release under that moniker. “Hood Hustlin” appears completely without any mention of this label, but it does have an appearance from his former label Swishahouse, an indication the beefs may all be a thing of the past. Paul Wall guest starts along with Max Minelli on “Trying to Find me a Freak”:

Wall: “Legendary slab rider, hall of fame grain ripper
Choppin boys up like them clippers, rear ends taken like the strippers
Candy dripper I’m on the hunt, tryin to find some honey love
I’m on the prowl for the taste of what-it-do, baby whassup
Pockets swollen, laws patrollin, all the metaphors I’m controllin
Weight in trunk then yeah I’m blowin, yessir, my slab is holdin
I got them TV screens fallin down, them 84’s just crawlin ’round
Got Houston callin me because I’m ballin now”

Most of Magno’s other guests on “Hood Hustlin” are much less recognizable than Paul Wall and much more obscure than the rapper himself. If you’re familiar with Jokaman, Nino or the Houstunnaz featured on “Got That Purp” stand up right now and be accounted for. The liner notes won’t help here since this is a typical BCD Music Grouprelease that has no production notes on the insert, just advertisements for other albums available from the label. Thankfully Magno is the star for this album, clearly evident when compared to the unnamed guest spitting his Houstonian rap over Chamillionaire’s “Ridin’ Dirty” beat.

Whack Guest: “Got a diamong rang that’ll blind ya eyes
Chain swangin from side to side
I’m top flight, top scale
Top floor at the hotel
Room service’n go Dale
Go dumb and post bail”

Magno: “Who’s smooth as me, boosters ain’t cruisin for attention
But I’m cooler than a penguin, coolant in my engine
Can’t blow my headgasket, you don’t know my bread basket
So regardless of the questions say I don’t know when feds askin
Cause I ain’t a snitch, I’m a bread collector
That’s the led injector
See them screens they lookin clean
I made the switch to overhead projectors”

Actually I’m not quite sure what Whack Guest MC said after “room service” which is one of my problems with Magno the Magnificent’s album. For someone with such a stellar name and reputation a lot of his guests are lyrically mushmouth, not articulating lyrics well at all and slurring their way through a flow with seemingly little effort. Come on now, if your name’s Magnificent make guests step up the flow a bit. A few songs hint at Magno’s true potential including the smooth swagger of “Dope Boy,” anthemic tracks like “Put This On My Hood” and club bangers like the quickly spit “Shake it Little Mamma,” but the lack of consistency on this album is really perplexing. Magno may win over fans with songs like “T-Shirts & Dickies” and lose them on monotonous songs like “What Up We Out Here.” Despite the fact he’s got a stellar reputation in Texas, “Hood Hustlin” is just not solid enough from start to finish to make the argument for him receiving wider distribution.