One of the hardest things to do as a hip-hop artist is to break into the mainstream. Often Emcee’s have to get big name collaboration, or dumb down their content; in a way “sell out” in order to appeal to the masses. However, other times artist stick to their root and go with their gut; they don’t care if it takes them weeks, months even years to reach mainstream success; one of these artists is Long Beach native and one fourth of the monster known as Slaughterhouse, Crooked I. He was signed to the biggest name in West Coast hip-hop, Death Row, and had his deal fall through; now as part of one of the biggest groups in the game, Crooked I releases his newest Mixtape/Album entitled, Psalm 82:V6. I call it an album, when truly it is only a mixtape, but the quality of music is just so high it has to be considered more than just a tape, and it does contain 18 tracks with original production and big name features. For those tight pants wearing, pop rap, singing heaving hip-hop fans, this project will be a stretch for you; however for those hip-hop heads and hardcore fans of the LBC native you have just hit the jackpot. With that said, what kind of substance does the project hold… well let’s find out.
Production – 7.5
Komplex, Quest, Tabu, Boi-1da, G Rocka & Medi and Aktive lead production work to the project and all do so wonderfully. There are plenty of hard knocking drums and chords that lace each track; it is exactly what you expect from a west coast gangsta rap project. It starts with a crazy violin solo goes into a very hard knocking drum vibe and it ends with a very soulful finish. All the way through the project is made for those that love riding around and having their speaker system knock. As previously stated this isn’t for the soft hearted, the sounds that are excreted from the tracks make you get hyped and want to just slap a dude. I found myself feeling a little more anger then I was when I started listening. The beats just get your energy high and keep it that way through the majority of the project. Towards the last few cuts, the vibe winds down and the feel gets real mellow which is a good switch up. If you are at all a fan of Crooked I, you understand that his beat selection is wide ranging, he is able to flow on type of beat, and this project is no different. I do wish there were a few more lively tracks that could possibly but that is a same complaint on my end. Again like I said before, I know that this is for the real fans not just the teenie boppers.
Lyrics – 8.5
Obviously the biggest strength the C.O.B. boss is his lyrics and flow, and he does not disappoint at all. I was first introduced to Crooked I on this site some years back and instantly got hooked with the heavy word play and overall lyricism. It is easy to see that Crooked takes his craft serious and is always working to hone his skills. He touches on hard work and dedication, fake homies, trifling females, the lord and self exuberance. He spits bars like “Know that I’m that dude Explain from a top mack school, And a block that rule — read my tattoo That’s C.O.B., it mean cash over bitches Crip or Blood, conducting organized business Circle of bosses, cartel of ballers Cussing out broads and we crossing over bridges Help a nigga get rich and richer Do you get the picture?” That’s just one of the many examples that Crooked I paints in order to show the fake chicks that he is all about his business. Another example that I found was when Crooked I raps. “I was inspired by Cube just like I admired Snoop, digging in the crates I’m just trying to find a loop then rhyme over your head like I’m trying to design a roof you only get one shot im the type to shoot no disrespect to Lebron but Kobe gonna find the hoop.” The whole tape has Crooked running through different types of flows and content, I could not do him justice; what I like the most is that he switch up his style on very song and you feel the emotion that he puts into every track. It’s as if he is made at every beat and wants to put it into the ground and that I really respect.
Songs – 8
The project has a lot of features, a lot of them help and few of them take away from the potential of the track. The noticeable ones are “Monsters” which features the other members of Slaughterhouse; Royce and Budden alone wreck the track which is also assisted by Colin Monroe. Also The lead single “F-ck You Pay Me” the track gets help from Chicago vet Twista and Cali singer K-Young, it deals with topic of money and never being satisfied with how much one has. Some of my other favorite tracks are “Roll Call” which gets a crazy verse from Locksmith and Bad Lucc. “She Doesn’t Even Know” is another stand out track that features Soopafly and Kobe, this one is a shout out to those thick females and what we want to do to them. My top three tracks have to be “Praise GOD,” “BBBB” which features Tena Jones which I feel gives a look into what we can expect from Million Dollar Story the long awaited LP from Crooked I, but my favorite song is easily “G.A.N.G Up (Grind and Never Give Up),” which gets a verse from Medi. All in the entire 18 track project does have a few fillers and if you ask me one too many features. I would have like maybe 14 tracks and about 4 less features. Again, what are you gonna do, you can’t love everything but that’s not to say Psalm 82:V6 is not a solid project all the way through.
Conclusion – 8
I really liked the project, it does a great job building the anticipation up for what is to come in July with the Slaughterhouse album, and hopefully soon, in Crook’s, Million Dollar Story, LP that fans have been waiting for. The project is full of original production and crazy word play; it has plenty of features from singers to rappers all over the map. It has slow mellow tracks, rough and tough hype music a few inspirational cuts and even those aimed at the haters. It’s hard to say that this is something new and unexpected from Crooked I cause it’s not; many of his real fans know that this is typical C.O.B shit. But just like one of the tracks say…. “Ni**az Winnin,” and that is what we hope Crooked I and the whole C.O.B team continue to do. West Coast rap has been make a lot of noise these last few years, and I you ask me Crooked I and a handful of others are the reason why. It’s hard to find real true artist these days that stick to their gunz and don’t sell out, and Crooked I is definitely one of those artist. Psalm 82.v6 is just another installment in the ever growing bible that Crooked has written himself, and I for one will enjoy the sermon until the next service.
Stay tuned to Def Sounds for Crooked I’s Psalm 82:v6, which is set to release tomorrow. You can also pre-order the tagless, retail version of the tape on iTunes now.
Review by Edgar Gomez (@MrEdgo) for Defsounds.com