Album: Split Personality
Label: J Records
Rating: 3 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
All the interviews I’ve read with this cat (including one on this very site), all the features, all the little snippets on the music shows… everything so far has suggested to me two things – one is that Cassidy believes his own hype, and two is that I don’t. Admittedly this is coming from a position of having only heard the godawful ‘Hotel’ with Pied Piper of Childrens’ Bedroom Gymnastics, R Kelly, and Cassidy hype up a past battle with Freeway, but I almost feel that I’ve already heard enough to last a lifetime. Freeway (though I love the cat to death) can’t even RHYME two bars at a time, so beating the chin-fro’ed one is really nothing to brag about.
Anyway, lets get this over with – Cassidy, Philly resident, picked up and produced by Swizz Beats, his album “Split Personality” has a loose theme of seeing the different sides of the Cassidy psyche – a few songs fall under the ‘Cassidy’ moniker, a few under his government name of B.Reese, and a few under his alter-ego ‘Tha Problem’. Already this is causing problems to my tired, cynical old brain. He also once battled Freeway, you know… oh I told you that already.
The album starts with the confusing ‘My Interpretation’. Confusing because Cassidy hits you with the unexpected – the idea that he might JUST have some skills… yes, he goes the Canibus route of regurgitating a dictionary without REALLY saying anything of substance – but as he drops ‘ation after ‘ation, you can’t help but think that this is a cut above what you may have expected from an emcee who came out with such an obvious pop hit to start his career. The beat is a fairly simplistic one-dimension plodder from Felli Fel, but I again have to emphasize my surprise on how dude came with his on the track…
“My interpretation of what the game facin’
I’m basin’ my facts on ancient civilization
And my proclamation plus the world and its foundation
My education is statin’ black unification
Debatin’ whether Satin is situatin’
And placin’ me in a state of mind that can’t be shaken
It’s like a leech slurrin’ my specch, energy taken
It’s brakin’ my fiberglass thoughts that pass through my mental
Lettin’ off frustration through meditation in conventional
Dimension in teleportation
And like the length between words in the first grade my mind is spacin’
Out on route like telephone communications through nations
Give me 360 degree rotations my occupation
Spittin’ flows and creatin’ a creation through experimental situations
They drug me ‘cuz my thoughts bloody like menstruations”
After the initial surprise though, unfortunately we enter the territory that I assumed we’d be in for the whole album – obviously the ‘Cassidy’ side of Cassidy’s persona is all about selling his soul for cash, with cheesy radio-aimed (s)hits. First up is the spun-to-death ‘Hotel’ – it doesn’t get any better on umpteenth listen – Cassidy’s microscopic verses in between Robert’s crooning all over the place amount to A-grade turd-on-wax. There’s a ‘bonus’ remix of this crap at the end of the album featuring Trina if anyone is interested. I’m not. After this the Jazze Pha-produced ‘Lipstick’ does listen to raise the interest – the fact that Cassidy has been sold a second-rate Cee-Lo cast-off beatto rhyme over, and the fact that his lyrics on here do nothing to relieve the boredeom soon had me reaching to skip to the next track.
There’s something about Swizz Beats’ production on ‘Get No Better’ that is addictively familiar – the beat bounces all over the place with a sweet bass guitar rhythm driving things along perfectly. This being a party-type track, you can kinda excuse Cassidy’s monotonous lyrics, especially when the hook is so infectious, though is is due in no small part to the inclusion of Mashonda’s vocals. Nevertheless, I’ll admit that I like this a little. The same can’t be said for ‘Make You Scream’ however, where Swizz and Cassidy butcher classic Bootsy Collins, aided and abetted by Snoop, who really should know better. The Doggy one’s verse on here is absolute bollocks – once again, Cassidy got short-changed.
This wraps up the ‘Cassidy’ personality’s section of the album – as we kick this to the kerb, ‘Tha Problem’ becomes the focus of attention, and instantly pisses me off by the sample used on the track of the same name. Let’s make this clear – fucking with Hiphop classics is not cool. Cassidy and Swizz Beats should be shot on site for even daring to mess with PE’s ‘Terminator X To The Edge Of Panic’. This shit is straight up wack – I ain’t even gonna comment any more.
Things don’t improve with ‘Pop That Cannon’ which features Cassidy trading verses with one of the most overrated rappers of the modern era, Styles P. Two sub-par emcees over a sub-par Swizz beat can equal nothing more than a sub-par track. Nuff said.
Wow, ‘Tha Problem’ has a problem – 0 for 2 so far in this section, and the wack guitars on ‘Blood Pressure’ ensure that he remains scoreless. J. Brown (who?) needs to do some more practising on the boards – the beat rarely changes throughout, except to bring the shit guitar in and out. The hook really takes the cake though…
“My blood pressure’s buildin’
My blood pressure’s buildin’
My blood pressure’s buildin’
My blood pressure’s buildin’
It’s Cassidy trick
It’s Cassidy bitch
It’s Cassidy clique
It’s Cassidy beeyatch!”
Truly inspired… This is what the term ‘filler’ was coined for.
‘Can I Talk To You’ is the final cut on the ‘Tha Problem’ portion of the album, and for a change, this track actually piques the interest. Unfortunately for Cas, its due to the detective-theme production from V. Flowers, and Jadakiss on the mic, who overshadows everything Cassidy spits on the track with minimal effort. Cassidy’s faux gangsta persona is as transparent as glass and his attempts at a ‘hard man’ act are frankly laughable.
With 2/3 of the album gone, its down to ‘B. Reese’ to salvage some pride, or at least something listenable…
‘Real Talk’ at least tries something different. Nottz samples Curtis Mayfield in a nice way, to provide a slow-tempo backdrop for Cassidy to try to talk to the easily-influenced about real life situations – about poverty and the struggle to stay up. Its a commendable attempt at covering a subject that these days gets swept under the carpet while the diamonds and cash take centre stage.
However on the very next track, he undoes all the good work. ‘Husslin’ totally contradicts ‘Real Talk’, and is at odds with the admirable message of the previous track. Here he does little more than tell us how he spends his money on diamonds and shoots guns, in effect playing into the outsiders’ stereotype of how Hiphop is. I’m surprised that he placed this track right after ‘Real Talk’… in fact, no I’m actually NOT surprised – its typical of the contradictory behaviour of a lot of the modern day rap ‘stars’…
“You don’t take bullets out the box like Cass
Load guns that hold a hundred shots like Cass
Roll like Cass, stroll like Cass
Got the blimp that be pimpin’ all the hoes like Cass
Niggaz don’t be sittin’ in the Rov like Cass
Wit the Rolls gold, got they wrist froze like Cass”
‘I’m Hungry’ is the second track on here that samples Public Enemy, and the second one that gets the smackdown. Rocwilder’s lazy beat samples ‘Public Enemy #1’, though its mixed down so low in volume that you can barely hear it – which begs the question – “Why bother?” The track itself is boring to the extreme, partly due to the turgid production, partly due to the repetitive chorus (like the earlier ‘Blood Pressure’, this one just chants the title over and over), and partly due to more uninspired mic work from Cas.
‘Around The World’ rounds things off, and brings to a close a largely disappointing album in typically contradictory fashion. Almost in the same breath as telling his hood girls to roll with him cos “you ain’t gettin’ fucked like you should”, he then turns around and talks about respecting “the black ladies, we gotta love the mothers of the black babies”… 2pac-esque proportions of contradiction have finally been reached.
Out of sixteen tracks there’s only really two on here that are even close to being worth any money at all, and for a cat being pushed as ‘the next big thing’ its a sorry state of affairs. Unfortunately for Cassidy, my personality recommends that you ‘split’ from the record store when you see this.