Do you like Scarface? Ice Cube? Dr. Dre?! Well, none of them make any contribution to Emaximus’ “The Leakage,” but there sure are impressions. This isn’t to say that Emaximus doesn’t have a voice of his own, but if he keeps rapping like Scarface-meets-revolutionary minus the violence, no one is ever going to play his music when his mentors are still making music (“Emeritus” is eerily similar to Emaximus, naturally).

Another immediate problem with Emaximus’ eight-track EP is that he falls into the category that hip hop is at no shortage of: hypocrisy. Take the album’s opening and closing anthems: “Swishers and Liquor,” an earnest glorification of excessive drinking and smoking, and “Power,” which encourages youth to put away their vices and get out of the ghetto using their brain. While he’s not nearly as heavy-handed at either side of the moral fence as hypocrite suprême Nasir Jones, it’s exhausting to hear rappers claim to be positive role models and only act it half the time.

I’ve been a bit hard on the EP itself, using it as a bit of a whipping boy for problems it shares with so many other hip hop records. The truth is, Emaximus is an average East Bay rapper who sounds like he could be from Houston. The production on “The Leakage” rarely matches its emcee’s enthusiasm, though Cylinder’s violin looping on “Ride the Strip” is a momentary novelty. Worst of all is B. Banks’ Dr. Dre swiping on “Shoot 4 the Stars,” which is indeed as obvious as its title. “The Leakage” may have solid enough bump for the whip but it doesn’t have much to offer beyond that.

Emaximus :: The Leakage