RapReview Of The Week

[Monster] Killer Mike :: Monster
Label: Aquemini/Columbia Records

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"Player I grind, my focus is crime
Raw with the rhyme, I'm slick with the slime
My words are diamonds dug out a mine
Spit 'em, polish, look how they shine
Glitter, glisten, gloss, floss
I catch a beat runnin like Randy Moss"

With those words the rap nation was introduced to Killer Mike, whose appearance on the OutKast song and video for "The Whole World" gave him an instant buzz most starving MC's would kill for. When someone as eclectic, original, and downright funky as 'Kast puts such a big stamp of approval on your debut, it's naturally expected you will step into the spotlight and shine brightly.

"Monster" is Mike's chance to make that impact, and not surprisingly the lead single "Akshon (Yeah!)" follows the same beat pattern and stutter pause rhyme flow that first got him noticed. Without owning a metronome to verify it, I'd suspect they are even the same BPM, or very close to it. The biggest difference is that the drum track has been made more "dirty" with a fuzzy sound around the edges, but if you already know Mike's style the lyrics won't surprise you at all:

"Ain't this the life?
Snappin and trappin and rappin and frappin all night
Lil mama's a plumber she's han-dl-in pipe
Ill with a pill, she handle it right
Like I-ver-son
Smallest thing on the team but the livest one
Cocked, loaded, bust like a gun
Y'all better run, one, one!"

The pleasant surprise is that on the "Re-Akshon Remix" included on this album, they went in a completely different direction. Lil' Jon provides one of his bounce/krunk type club beats, and guest rappers T.I. and Bun B stir up the pot, with the latter making it the most hot:

"Well bitch I'm comin live from the trunk and I thrive on the funk
Cause I'd rather die like a man than survive like a punk
I'm no coward, I'm 'dro-powered, you gettin Twin-Towered
devoured - it's a shit-storm and you bout to get showered
From Broward county to Harris, Pasadena to Paris
I embarrass niggaz on chrome wheels as big as a ferris
Cause there is, now way now how - I stay low-key, low-brow
In that black on black on black in the 'llac cuz I'm so wild"

The song currently making the most noise off the album though is "A.D.I.D.A.S." It's long been an urban myth that the letters of Adidas are actually an acronym for "All Day I Dream About Sex," so Mike and Big Boi decided to run with that theme over a Mr. DJ beat and make a light-hearted song about getting a nut:

"Killa Kill from Adamsville and in a Bonneville I chill
Heffers call me Black'n'Decker, I don't screw dem hoes, I drill
I've been cuttin cute lil' coochies since before the record deal
Catch me daydreamin bout hems, thick medium or slim
Doctors call the thing vagina, in the hood we call it trim
White boys call it snatch, Puerto Ricans call it chocha
Nathaniel likes his white, I like mine dark as cola
It's the first thing on my mind in the morn' when I roll over
All men young or old in the end it's what we after
Even my grandpappy's happy, he got prescribed viagra!"

Clearly there's sufficient reason here for Killer Mike to have a solo career. His syrupy voice, hardcore flow and witty words prove that he's more than a flash in the pan artist. There's plenty of material to like, including "Creep Show" featuring Bizarre, the symphonic laced Andre 3000 track "U Know I Love You," Mike's unapologetic "Sex, Drugs, Rap & Roll" with fat guitar by Dan 'Thunda Dan' Marshal, and the hard rock Cypress Hill style "Hand on the 9, Finger on the Trigger" - an unlisted extra you can find hidden at track 30. The song that may stun people the most though is "Rap is Dead":

"Fuck rap! Rap's near death, bloated and sick
Too many niggaz still ride, Big and Pac's dick
Fuck that! Next year, they more deader
And I'll write rhymes more deadly and more better
than the last, sick and disturbed verse I wrote
And sell it tough tennage boys to quote
From music to madness
Let the anger kill the pain and the sadness, fuck the fad shit!
Keep it Killer with the rap shit, hard rock when you rock shit
Back to the block, freestyle, pop lock shit
Back to the basics on the 'fuck a cop' shit
Rock pussies rap on some pop shit"

Some might feel it's sacriligeous, but Mike's unrepentant and uncompromising "fuckin right I'm pissed off" attitude is the shot of adrenaline hip-hop's arm needs. Even if rap is dead, Mike is trying to bring it back to life by pledging allegiance to the hardcore and begging fellow rappers to be creative and not carbon copies. In one chorus, he even screams out "Lennon is DEAD! Kurt is DEAD!" instead of Tupac and Biggie, and he's not afraid to shout out Black Sabbath and Metallica in the track. Mike's definitely an original, and not afraid to speak the plain truth other people would tiptoe around. His "Scared Straight" is a refreshing change of pace from rap songs that glorify the world of drug sales, and the Cool & Dre produced "All 4 U" could easily be mistaken for a Jay-Z "U Don't Know" meets "This Can't Be Life" type track. Killer Mike showcases a flexibility and versatility few solo debut rappers ever have, and even though he's a self-described "Monster" there's nothing to be scurred of here. Offered at a "new artist introduction" price at most retail outlets, there's no reason not to give Killer Mike his chance to shine - he's worth the investment for you and for OutKast too.

Music Vibes: 7.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 8.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10

Originally posted: March 11, 2003
source: www.RapReviews.com

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