The Grouch – Show You the World
Legendary Music / ADA (4/8/08)
Hip-hop / Rap
It’s been about 15 years since the West Coast consistently dominated the hip-hop scene. Despite the continued presence of tired acts like Snoop Dogg and his Dogg Pound (actual combined age in human years: infinity), the truth is that California’s peak lasted about two years, ending when names like “Newt Gingrich” were being introduced to the American public.
The independent scene out in Cali has been trying to find its footing amid the state’s rap stereotype (gangsta lyrics, dated g-funk beats), and if anyone’s going to lead the left coast into the light, it might as well be The Grouch.
The Grouch has been a part of no less than 12 solo or collaborative efforts over the course of his career, most notably 2004’s No More Greener Grasses and 2006’s Heroes in the City of the Dope. His sound hasn’t changed much, but he’s managed to keep things fresh by finding inspiration and a lyrical spirit in unusual places. On Show You the World, The Grouch turns to his two-year-old daughter.
Before you roll your eyes and smarmily remark that The Grouch stole Eminem’s gimmick, you should listen to the damn album.
“Shero” is a positive effort about his baby’s momma that comes with just enough of an edge to make it relatable to all of us family men who are still trying to find our way. “Bring it Back” is even more personal, as The Grouch delves into drug addiction without any of the usual rap attempts to canonize it.
The beats are almost always outstanding and manage to fill in the gaps when the lyricism or hooks come up short. Tracks like “Breath”, “Never Die” and “Artsy” have an undeniable bounciness that manage to toe the line between “fun” and “pop” without ever crossing it. But, lest you think The Grouch is jostling for an Interscope contract, a three-piece suit and occasional bathing, tracks like the incendiary “Mom n Pop Killer” (a general dis towards corporate America) and “Clones” (a shot at sell-out Hummer-leasing rappers) show that there’s not much for The Grouch to smile about.