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CD REVIEW: Slick of the Shockmob- Elements of the Game
By Jon Stewart - 02/10/2006 - 06:10 PM EST

Artist: Band: Slick of the Shockmob
Album: Elements of the Game
CD Review: I’ve liked West Coast rap since 1988 when I first heard NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton”, the best rap album ever made. I only had to listen to that album once to know it was a breakthrough for this art form. “Elements of the Game” is not a breakthrough (some of it is lame- “refrigerator”/ “Darth Vader”)-but I admire the lyrical style and some of the beats, especially the first 5 songs. [As a side note, Morey Alexander, currently President of Kent Records and its hip-hop label, First Kut, that signed Slick, was the manager for NWA in ‘88].

Where many new hip-hop artists have similar voices, styles and attitudes, Slick stands out for his vocal style and relevance. His voice is never tiring, one of my primary complaints against rap artists. This mellifluous voice is well-presented on each song with very little harmonizing backup vocals necessary to carry it. He is also producer, writer arranger and mixer for the CD so he has the final say on how the songs clock in.

Although Slick is Sicilian/Italian and not black, you would be hard pressed to guess it from his voice, the choice of topics, beats and malevolent tendencies considered on the album. He has ended up in Las Vegas but spent time on the West Coast and other places. What this album does for me is remind me of the time I spent in LA. Driving the freeways and streets in LA is a completely unique experience but is captured on this CD with a richness that transcends any travelogue you might purchase. His depiction of LA in “Put Your Tops Down” is mesmerizing, powerful and auto-centric; a “Pimp My Ride” for the Murder State.

These are all ‘chip on the shoulder-type’ songs many people use to define cool. Slick has an attitude that is unwaveringly direct as he weaves tales of gang members, thugs, cop killers and sell-outs. Be prepared to learn something on this modern-day journey through Southern California; what the goosenecking you see in the car next to you on the streets of LA is all about. Grade B.

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