Stack$ – Crazee and Confuzed
Sobe Entertainment (9/30/08)
These days, it’s almost impossible for the rap game to surprise long-time listeners of the genre. Those of us raised on the originality and urgency of hip-hop in its heyday have been shoved aside by an industry more concerned with kiddie dances, ringtones and a cookie-cutter style.
Newcomer Stack$ recently dropped his debut album, Crazee and Confused, and, truth be told, it’s quite the surprise. Maybe it’s because Stack$—the former Yannique Barker—was raised in the exceedingly affluent Maryland town of Bethesda. Maybe it’s because of the reported (and surely exaggerated) $10 million album budget. Maybe it’s because of all the A-level guest spots, but damned if this isn’t an entertaining album at times.
OK, it is because of all the A-level guest spots.
Swizz Beatz helms the production on “Whatcha Lookin’ At”—a terrific club cut that might not raise your consciousness, but serves up some frenetic empty calories. Lil Wayne further cements his self-styled new first name (“Featuring”) on “Money Ova Here”. I’ll give the kid his charisma as Wayne manages to carry the usual materialistic themes with an almost comical bravado.
Twista is here, too. Yeah, yeah, it’s not like he’s worked much since Kanye West put him on the map back in 2004, but he’s the only piece of cohesion on “Git It, Git It”. Fat Joe and Trina are their usual self-caricatures on “That’s the Way”, although the effort is there. Beenie Man and Jah Cure turn “Bulletproof” and “Flyin’ High”, respectively, into a unique mash-up of rap and island styles. Neither one works really well, but credit for trying something different.
Needless to say, the highlights here are whenever Stack$ isn’t spitting. He’s not what you’d call “bad”… just bland. His flow comes right off the assembly line and remains unchanged regardless of beat, tempo or subject matter. He honestly reminds me a bit of long-forgotten West Coast rapper Shade Sheist, who dropped a similar guest-heavy solo debut before disappearing forever into anonymity.
Hope you didn’t really drop $10 million on this effort, Stack$.
Tags: Kanye West, Lil Wayne