Album: Unleashed Volume 3
Label: TVT Records
Rating: 7 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Take one of Hiphop’s hottest producers of the moment. Take the hottest reggae riddim of the moment. Add to it an emcee, whose latin flavour on wax harks back to the days of Mellow Man Ace and early Cypress Hill. Boost the energy levels up 100 percent. The result? The addictive “Culo”, which sees crunkmaster Lil Jon yell and bawl his way through the Coolie riddim while Miami rapper Pitbull works the crowd into a frenzy.
TVT Records and Pitbull himself have no intention of letting his moment of stardom slip – they’re following up the hot single with a gang of promotional mixtapes, building the buzz in anticipation for the August release of “M.I.A.M.I.” – Pitbull’s debut album.
Volume 3 of the “Unleashed” series features a plethora of freestyles over the hottest beats of the moment – ‘Freek-A-Leek’, ‘Like A Pimp’, ‘In My Life’, and ‘Damn’ are among the current crunk classics that Pitbull spits over. In addition, some of NY’s biggest tracks also get the freestyle treatment – ‘Dirt Off Your Shoulders’, ‘Clap Bak’, and ‘Flipside’ all serve as audio backdrops to Pitbull’s loose ‘Spanglish’ flow.
As is standard mixtape format, in addition to the freestyles you also get some exclusive remixes that you won’t be able to get easily elsewhere – amongst the treats here are a remix of ‘Represent’ with Trick Daddy and Gunplay, a ‘Salt Shaker’ remix with TVT labelmates Ying Yang Twinz, and a coming-out-of-left-field remix of John Lennon’s ‘Imagine’ with Nas.
Finally the last portion of the mixtape ingredients are some Pitbull tracks that may or may not make the cut for the final tracklisting of “M.I.A.M.I.” The first, ‘Don’t Stop The Rok’ features synths and fast-paced bongo drums – its a potential minor club hit, but as an album cut it’s probably little more than a space filler. ‘All 4 Sale’ though is a certified banger and it’ll be a shame if this doesn’t make the final tracklisting – Tru’s synth-heavy production features Pitbull sharing the mic with Cubo & Skope, and jacking the hook for G-Unit’s ‘Gunz 4 Sale’ to great effect. ‘Hustler’s Withdrawal’ is almost Dr. Dre-ish in sound and here Pitbull explains the logic behind hustling, while warning that its difficult to break out of once you get used to the excitement and the money coming in. Again, this is another potentional album track. Elsewhere the ode to the old school Miami club scene features Pitbull spitting over a succession of breaks that the 2 Live Crew raped back in the day, including ‘Dance To The Drummer’s Beat’.
As an emcee, Pitbull is more than adequate – bringing a lot more to the table than the stereotypical ‘southern’ emcee – of course he can get crunk wit it, but at the same time his intelligence and descriptive images add more to his armoury. His heartfelt repping for his Latin background already means that an army of fans will pick up “M.I.A.M.I.” when it drops, but the rest of the Hiphop community could do worse than check for this dude. His “Unsigned Hype” appearance in The Source already means that he’s created a few ripples up north, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a fullscale splashdown after August once the album drops.