Album Review — 15 March 2010

By T Love

In Hip-Hop, more than any musical genre, staying relevant is an uphill battle. Since his coming out party with his verse on Snoop Dogg’s “Doggy Dogg World,” which most heads can recite verbatim, Kurupt has done that and then some.  He solidified his status as one of the elite spitters on either coast with his seminal classic, Dogg Food, as one half of the Dogg Pound.  In the interim he has released a slew of albums and has consistently held down that west coast gangster shit arguably more consistently than anybody who repped the west coast and is still breathing.  In his prime, Kurupt stood out amongst hordes of gangster rappers because behind all that bombastic aggression and bluster, he had a crazy vocabulary and nice bars.  He could talk shit with the best of them, but at the end of the day, he’s an emcee’s emcee.  Eminem even said so himself in his song “Til I Collapse.”

With Down and Dirty, his latest release, Kurupt is hitting us with some more of what he became known for, cocksure shit talking and above average rhymes over a G-Funk soundscape.  Off the break, on “Speak On It”, Kurupt spends more than half the track literally just talking shit about Hip-Hhop in general, taking a shot at DMX in the process.  Didn’t “Calling Out Names” come out nearly ten years ago? Why is he still mad? 

After that initial blast though, Kurupt gets busy.  On the next fifteen or so cuts Kurupt goes in on tracks that, production wise, fit in comfortably with the rest of his catalogue.  “Anarchy” is a standout song that sounds like something Swizz Beatz would come up with if someone challenged him to make something that folks out on the left coast could C-walk to.  “Throw Back Muzic” is exactly that.   The only thing missing from it is a signature Roger Troutman autotune warble. 

“Jealousy” might throw some for a loop, as it features not only Kurupt’s cousin Roscoe, who outshines everbody on the track, but M.O.P.  This unlikely combination works perfectly.  “U Don’t Know Who U Fuckin Wit” is the album’s lyrical tour de force but at the same time it exposes what holds back Kurupt as an emcee.  After dropping line after line of hotness, he’ll often degenerate into saying redundant epithets and curses. Case in point, “Malachi and Isaiah, Gotti the rhyme slayer, turpentine valentine divine the nine sprayer”.  A little later he follows that up with, “Bang, make everybody wanna do the damn thang. Make everybody wanna do the damn thang” and “Bitch ass niggas actin’ like bitches.” Huh?

Rhymes like that aside, there’s more than enough darts to satisfy everybody on Down and Dirty.  The beats are on point, and there aren’t any tracks that need to be skipped, however there aren’t many that have a lot of replay value either.  On the mic, Kurupt may have lost the focus he had in his heyday but he’s serving notice to everybody talking about the “New West “movement that the old Dogg has still got some bite.
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