REVIEW: CasUno – The Art Of Pissing People Off!!!

The Art Of Pissing People Off!!!

Artist: CasUno

Album: The Art Of Pissing People Off!!!

Label: Labeless Intelligence

Rating: 5 / 10

Reviewer: A to the L

Straight outta New Bedrock, Mass. comes CasUno with an interesting album title and a decent background of work with the likes of Mr. Lif, Akrobatik, Edan, InSight & Electric, Sage Francis, Apathy, Scienz Of Life, Pack FM & Tone-Deff, C Rayz Walz, LoDeck, Thirstin Howl and just about every RI/South Eastern MA hip hop artist worth listening to.

Even before the album begins, feelings of frustration come to the fore due to the Wu-Tang styled tracklisting. Yes, in a similar style to Shaolin’s finest, CasUno’s back cover carries a totally different track listing and order to the one on the inside inlay and on the cd. Pissed off yet? No. Mildly annoyed. Yes.

The main reason I would get pissed off however is evident almost as soon as Cas opens his mouth – his deep booming voice is ideal for rhyming, but his delivery comes off like a mixture of Chino XL and Talib Kweli. Like these two cats, he has a really bad habit of rushing to fit as many words into a line just to hammer home a point, and unfortunately at most points throughout each track it just sounds like a jumbled mess of punch-ins.. Its a shame, because if you actually pick out homeboy’s lyrics from the garbled vocal track and study them, he IS saying some nice stuff. Its a shame however that it IS so difficult to actually decipher them – I can see a load of people passing over this album simply because they have to WORK to understand what’s going on.

Beatwise though, most of the album is on point. Time Machine’s Mekalek pops up with a dope instrumental track and a couple of hot beats on ‘The Superior Slang Sultan’ and ‘Independent Like A Phuck’, and headcASE’s work on the sparse ‘Insignificant Others’ and his string-laden instrumental track are both joyful to the ears. Its Gibran though who holds down the majority of the tracks on the album with a sound reminiscent of late 80’s classic Hiphop – heavy, heavy drums, and sharp snares quickly have the head nodding through his 4 ‘Art Of Pissing Off’ interludes where CasUno’s crew get on to catch wreck, ’10 Things I Hate About You’, and ‘I Ain’t Got Another Me To Be’. Other tracks feature production from Joe Beats, Al Burns, Matty Mischief and D.Mott, and to be honest do stand up well against other underground stuff that’s out there at the moment.

However, it all comes down to what’s being said OVER those beats, and unfortunately Cas doesn’t quite do them justice. The problems with his hurried delivery become even clearer on tracks where he shares mic time with other emcees, or on the ‘Pissing Off’ interludes where he turns the microphone over to AmsUno, Romen Rok, Shawn Jackson, and Jezuz and lets them go for dolo. In all four instances his crew members rap ‘normally’ – they’re in no hurry to get their point across, and ride Gibran’s beats perfectly. Elsewhere Kate Is Enough comes off like a 2004 Shorty No Mass as she outrhymes Cas on ‘Insignificant Others’.

Sometimes its difficult to be the bearer of bad news, but hopefully Cas will take the criticisms on board. Just slooooooooooooooow down a little… the work on the beats is A-1, the guests do their thing… its just his delivery that makes this a difficult album to listen to. Unless of course THAT is how he intends to piss people off – if that’s the case, then with this album its certainly mission accomplished. Seriously though – he has the voice, he has the lyrics, he has the beats… delivery-wise though – he needs to calm down and come back to the mic with a new gameplan.

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