Friday, September 19, 2008


[Full disclosure: The Typing Monkey's familiarity with hyphy leaves much to be desired.]
Oakland's "King of Hyphy" forces the listener to pay attention. Keak fits into that tier of rappers who have instantly recognizable voices, and who spit good, if typical, stories about the daily ins-and-outs of being a hustler (see ODB, et al.). But dang if it ain't nearly impossible to tell what the man is saying.

Between his dense regional slang and that voice -- sounding as if he spikes his blunts with Ajax and chases them with shots of Tabasco sauce -- the uninitiated have but song titles and a patient ear to rely on. Most of the 23 tracks on the MC's new LP fall in line with hyphy's rubber kick drum, floor-to-ceiling spongy bass contrasted by helium-light synth hooks that bob and weave. Reaching the end is an exhausting achievement.

Somebody loves this much Keak, but the hyphy king's unique voice is best employed as a guest rapper, such as his appearance in the genre's biggest mainstream hit, E-40's "Tell Me When to Go."

Standouts: "Stock With Game" and "Go Dumb, Go Stupid"
Released: June 10