Artist: Kool G Rap
Album: Click Of Respect
Label: Igloo Entertainment
Rating: 4 / 10
Reviewer: A to the L
Kool G Rap. A name revered in Hiphop history. A man whose whole rhyme style is arguably the daddy of Nas, Mobb Deep, Fat Joe, and the like – these youngstas just don’t know. I guess G Rap’s career choices since his days with the Juice Crew haven’t helped win over newer Hiphop fans either. After the crew all went their separate ways, he initially looked to have things handled with the release of “4, 5, 6” – where his multi-syllable NY gangsta tales flowed perfectly over dark, brooding beats. But then things started to go wrong – as the very cats he influenced dropped gems like “The Infamous”, “Hell On Earth”, and “Capital Punishment”, the quality of G Rap’s output decreased greatly with “Roots Of Evil” failing to make an impact, and first the bootlegged Rawkus version of “The Giancana Story” and then the official Koch release of the album both quickly and quietly fading from view.
Fast forward to the present day and G Rap is back, albeit unintentionally. In the finest Hiphop tradition of putting your peoples on, he had originally planned to oversee the production of a new album featuring some fresh talent from his Igloo production company. But once he got in the studio with his 5 Family Click – Glory Wars, Hammerz, Nawz and Ma Barker (aka Mrs G Rap, his real life wife) – the chemistry he felt pulled him back behind the mic, and ultimately into turning this into the next Kool G Rap album.
And so, “Click Of Respect” promises the usual gully NY street shit – hardcore, uncomprising gritty rhymes over cold bleak beats. The question is can G Rap push the quality bar up enough to make this a worthwhile investment in the old dog, or do we still have to rely on the younger cats for our fix of thuggery?
The answer my little chums is a confusing yes and no. The curse of “Roots” and “Giancana” has struck again it seems – although its blindingly obvious that Kool G Rap has lost none of his skills for writing or storytelling on the mic, once again this G Rap release is let down by the beats. Two or three tracks aside, “Click Of Respect” suffers from one-paced, over simplistic beats that borrow heavily from other ideas that are hitting at the moment (Kanye’s sped-up soul samples come to mind) while failing to pique the interest enough to actually listen to an entire song. It’s a real shame too, because if you somehow can force yourself into staying awake, you’ll notice that, as I said earlier, G Rap still sounds hungry on the mic : and his savagely brutal delivery technique has rubbed off on his crew – all of the Click throw down throughout the entire album with Ma Barker especially shining. But the beats… While everyone and their mother is busy remixing Jigga’s “Black Album”, someone needs to come at G Rap and get these acappellas : over the right beats this shit would be amazing.
But as already pointed out, the beats as they stand are a massive letdown – in places its hard to even distinguish between tracks due to their similarity. When things do switch up a little though its all positive – the more uptempo (and almost clubbish) ‘Niggah Nah’ with its crunchy synths and vicious slapback is a close cousin of Freeway’s ‘Flipside’ and despite its Just Blaze-ness still manages to rustle up a headnod or five. On ‘Takin’ Over’ C.O.S’s production finally hits the target with one of its soul samples – where several other tracks’ utilisation of this particular formula result in little more than cheap-sounding Kanye West rip-offs (‘Blackin’ Out’, ‘Stop Playin’ Wit Me’, ‘I Am What I Am’) – this one blends orchestral strings and flutes into the mix to great effect as G Rap and Ma Barker break down exactly how the Click are gonna be runnin’ shit. Unfortunately the number one rule of getting good beats for an ENTIRE album isn’t mentioned by either of em.
Elsewhere, ‘Breaker Breaker’ comes off like an updated version of the ‘On The Run’ remix from classic Kool G Rap days of old, with first the master spitting over 70’s detective theme ish as police sirens wail in the background, then wifey, Hammerz and Glory Warz adding their piece to provide probably the standout track on the album. It’s G Rap though who unsurprisingly steals the show :
“DJ Wildstyle swiggin’ on hypnoc’ in the drop
Some threads from that Jay-Z fella – glock under the Roc
My profile – pimp style with rocks in the watch
Send three bitches OT with rocks in they twat
Spread love like Wimbledon, keep the script simmering”
The other track that stands out is a love song. Yup a love song on a Kool G Rap album – more specifically a Ma Barker solo track where she breaks down exactly why the Kool one is the man for her. Despite a sickly sweet chorus, ‘Never Gonna Let You Go’ still fits in well with the rest of the album’s cuts, mainly because Barker doesn’t switch her style up to fit with the sugary feel of this particular beat. She still remains uncompromising and rough, despite the fact that this is her ode to her man – but then if Kool G Rap is your man I guess there’s no other way to do it.
“I never thought for a moment I’d be out of the game
Too many dudes for me to choose from, how can I just choose one?
I’m unstable, never thought I’d find a guy on my level
Like a case against the city, Barks’ll never get settled
But I met a guy y’all, he ain’t quite the norm
He ain’t the type to sit on the couch and get excited by porn
He the type to hit it right from the night to the morn
Ditch his boys throw me on the back of his bike and we gone :”
Leave these few tracks off the album though and there’d be absolutely NOTHING to indicate that this would be worth picking up – the beats really do detract that much from the enjoyment of the whole thing. Even when high profile producers like Buckwild (‘Cold World’) and DR Period (‘Gully’) are drafted in, the results only added to the yawnfest. Multiply how you felt when you were let down by Mobb Deep’s “Murda Musik” by about five : its exactly the same scenario here – you KNOW the artist is dope, but why is their choice in beats so poor? Ras Kass syndrome is spreading y’all. Conclusion? Diehard G Rap fans might enjoy this, but unfortunately the occasional or new listener ain’t gonna be impressed too much. I’m genuinely sorry to have to advise you to approach this with caution.