audio review : From Death ( album ) … Goon Squad

audio review : From Death ( album ) ... Goon Squad

This Goon Squad, representing Detroit’s 7 Mile road, often rap about partaking in criminal activities. They’re thugs, after all. But, while several people are harmed over the course of the set, their biggest crime seems to be stealing (sampling) other people’s music. Marvin Gaye is the victim on No Place, about a man serving time in prison. It’s deep but doesn’t leave as much of an impact as No Trust, another prison story but one that deals with unfaithful “hoes” on the outside. It’s the best song. The chorus doesn’t really make sense; first he says he trusts nobody, then he says he only trusts a few people; plus it plays just once and lasts for only four bars, but it’s catchy and the echoed shout ends it on a perfect note.

The most entertaining song is Lick Lickin, about oral sex and dedicated to the “dumb-ass slut” who performs it. It’s sort of a mock ballad in that the guys are playing around instead of being serious while actually singing instead of rapping. But the organ sounds pretty nice and the Squad manages to stumble upon a few real melodies along the way. This particular form of comic relief is quite welcomed. It’s a funny song. What the album would do better without are the Luke-Campbell-like dance tracks near the end, some of which are verse-free instrumentals. Their inclusion, all during the second half where they are, comes across as random and off-putting, basically killing any chance of this being a decent rap album.

my rating = 2 of 5

1995

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audio review : Devil’s Night ( album ) … D-12

Devil's Night

Devil’s Night formally introduces the pop music world to the group Eminem rapped with before he got famous and took over. It’s D-12; The Dirty Dozen; “twleve motherfuckers in six different bodies with their personalities split” as he explains on the opener. And though only about half of those personalities are interesting enough to stand-out on their own, the album provides a dose of high-concept entertainment.

“It ain’t nothing but music,” Dr Dre declares over a technofied circus beat. That song, like much of the album, is a comical response to people who claim the group’s songs are a negative influence on children. From Eminem shooting at cops to Bizarre kidnapping Lil Bow Wow, you get the sense that all D-12 wants to do is stir-up more controversy. Fight Music, for example, is for kids to “trash their rooms with”.

Eminem, while not as lyrically impressive as he was on his Marshall Mathers LP, is consistently on-point. He’s still the best rapper. But Bizarre’s shock value; the crazy and sometimes surprisingly vulgar things he says and does in his verses, like eating his girlfriend’s “miscarriage”; makes him a notable second. Kuniva is third, followed by Proof, leaving Swifty McVay and Kon Artis merely stringing along for the hell of it.

my rating = 4 of 5

2001

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