REVIEW: Tash – Rap Life

Rap Life

Artist: Tash

Album: Rap Life

Label: Columbia

Rating: 6.5 / 10

Reviewer: Sir

Everyone knows Tha Alkaholiks style with their liquor-induced funk and their ear-splitting braggadocio, but what about Tha Liks as solo artists? Tash’s “Rap Life” proves that in collaboration and standing alone, the same appeal is there.

The first notable song on the album is the thug decree of ‘G’z is G’z’ featuring Kurupt. No doubt this track keeps the listener nodding their head from beginning to end. Number four, ‘Pimpin Ain’t Easy’, is nothing special. And then just when you were starting to wonder about the quality of “Rap Life” the title track kicks in featuring Raekwon. With or without the appearance of Rae from Wu, I would be feeling this song, but his presence just guarantees this as a hit. ‘The Game’ is the r&b cut sticking to the blueprint for a what some say makes a successful rap album. Generally, I skip the r&b track, but I actually didn’t mind Carl Thomas’s chorus on this track and Tash definitely came correct speaking his mind on how the game goes down and about an emcee’s search for….could it be?…true love? Tash rhymes…”I know this love song I’m writin ain’t flashin your excitement/ but when you least expect it love will strike you like some lightning.”

As well as producing four tracks on the album, E-Swift, along with Alkaholik family member, J-Ro, show up for some vocal assistance. ‘Only When I’m Drunker’ comes as a sequel to Tha Liks song ‘Only When I’m Drunk’ that was seen on their debut album, “21 & Over.” It still has the same malicious intent though: telling you how they get down when it comes to liquor, beer, and weed, and that each one of them is always the last man standing. Number 10, ‘Nightfall’ comes off weak. It has very little variation from the rest of the songs, so blame the shortcomings of this track on the production.

‘Smokefest 1999’ is the Tash dedication to herb. How can you go wrong with a laid-back beat, marijuana braggadocio, guest appearances from Outkast and B-Real, and an intro from Bill Clinton bragging about the quality of D.C. smoke and letting Tash know that Hillary wants to get in his pants? The verses from Outkast are typical shit that no fan should miss.

The next two tracks are produced by Rockwilder. ‘Fallin On’ uses the beat same beat Dr. Dre used in ‘The Next Episode’ with a few variations, but verbally he comes ready to spit. Tash raps… “So while I smack you wit the force to knock your ship off course/ If this funk don’t move your wife, you better file for divorce.” The second of the Rockwilder produced cut was pretty disappointing. It featured LV and his singy twang and is easily the worst track on the album. Lack of creativity, lack of flow, and lack of excitement; this track was just lacking in all categories.

There are several skits on this album as well. While they aren’t hilarious, knee-slapping humor, they serve their purpose and do not interrupt flow of the cd. And in my book any skit that doesn’t fuck with the flow of the album is a good skit. Ice-T even lends his help to appear on a skit as himself and shoots a fan for harrassing him for copping the new Tash album. Xzibit and Phil the Agony help Tash out on ‘True Homies’ and the track comes across pretty good. The beat sounds like an east coast style beat, but with that westcoast Alkaholik thump to it and makes for a nice combo. All three artists deliver verses worthy of overnight delivery and it is good to hear Xzibit on at least one track. ‘True Homies’, along with the last two songs, ‘Blackula’ and ‘Bermuda Triangle’, were produced by E-Swift.

‘Blackula’ comes across with a beat sounding like it came straight from the intro to the television show Night Court. I couldn’t get into this beat which made it hard to get into the lyrics. The track was well-produced, but it was a little outside my “box of liking.” Once again, another disappointing song and much more than that, a disappointing conclusion to the album. Once again, the words and rhymes were there and ringing loud and clear, but the beat, sound effects, and sample loops lost me in the beginning.

This album started off dope, but came to a mediocre level as it progressed to the end. If the entire album was like the first two-thirds, then this album would be something I would have no problem throwing into the cd player and letting it ride, but because of the lack of production on nearly the last four or five songs that is out of the question. If you are looking for a dope album from Tash, then as soon as B-Real finishes his verse on ‘Smokefest 1999’, skip to the Xzibit/Tash song and eject the cd and continue on your day content that the first 12 tracks came with the hotness.

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