Album: Vast Aire & Mighty Mi

The Best Damn Rap Show, EASTERN CONFERENCE

For The Best Damn Rap Show, the Cannibal Ox mainman Vast Aire has dispensed with the plethora of producers and guest rappers that gave Look Mom... No Hands such an uneven aspect, in favour of working solely with Mighty Mi, the beat technician best known for his work with Ghostface, Mobb Deep and Eminem. Mi's approach is pretty basic and to the point, with doomy snarls of synth, sampled moans, or staccato piano stabs riding punchy breakbeats - a style which allows Vast Aire's voice full rein to declaim with his characteristic command and contempt. But for one with such special verbal skills, there are too many pointless put-downs here - although Aire does bring an idiosyncratic edge to his boasts and threats, with lines like "You should go home/ This ain't Rocky, and you ain't Stallone" and "Real niggas walk upright, we don't slither/ You're more fake in the face than Joan Rivers" spicing up his raps. He's best employed on the stronger political material with "The Workover" adopting a long-term view of continuing black oppression and "Vintage" advocating the mugging of corporations rather than each other. It's a powerful piece of hip-hop polemic which finds the rapper casting a bemused and angry eye over the gang mentality: "I don't care if you're Blood or Crip/ Red and Blue make purple/ What's the sense of this shit?".

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