I ROCK. I ROLL.
Right off, with no corny intro, Mystikal announces his mission on "Ready To Rumble", the first track off his fourth major release, Let's Get Ready. A growler somewhere in between Busta Rhymes and DMX, the New Orleans rapper veers slightly closer to James Brown than to a Reggae Toaster. He isn't the Godfather, but he promises an old fashioned party. He also threatens and prays, but lacks DMX's mysterious contradictions, though he delivers some good raps. He rocks and rolls.
After "Ready To Rumble" comes "Shake Ya Ass", the single, making mix tapes all over America. The Neptunes produced this and "Danger", another gem. Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo lay down something slinky falsetto sing-song over the bridge as the rapper hisses his delivery:
SHAKE YA ASS
It's the message of the album. While you might shake your ass more than
watch yourself, isn't that what music is supposed to make you do? This
is entertainment damn it! To hell with fear, this is fun.
The Medicine Men's different producers win glory for half of their four offerrings here. "Big Truck Boys"is about something different, and the bass is psychadelic, bouncing the same way Jay Z's "Can I Get A..." bounced. On "I Rock, I Roll" a saxaphone blows like a boiling kettle, the way Public Enemy's Bomb Squad did. This, the horns on Radiohead's National Anthem bode for more saxaphones in the mix this year (Damn it! This is Hip Hop album. I do not want to hear another thing about Radiohead. Why don't you go listen to Radiohead and quit trying to review Rap records). "U Would If U Could" features a rapid fire style delivery that's becoming the Heavy Metal guitar solo of Rap; it's very flashy but hard to make soulful. The times Mystikal slows it down are the most effective.
FROM THE MOMENT THAT I SLID IN THE DOOR [Creak]
A noble boast, but then he sputters along in a very talented and showy
way, till you realize that mostly, throughout this record, Mystikal's
songs are bragging, saying he's better than some undefined listener. While
it's good to be self confident, the braggadocio featured here can run
thin and become an annoying quality. Mystikal would do well to be more
self-deprecating on his next album.
Warning: there are also some swear words! Check out "Mystikal Fever"
BIG TITTED BITCHES GET THE
So there is a balance.
Mystikal pays tribute to braids on the dumb "Braids", to weed on "Smoked Out" and to his neck of the woods on "Neck Uv The Woods", all produced by Earthtone III. They give "The Braids" some weak production, while "Smoked Out" get a nice shafty aroma. Both are really stupid songs. The album closes with Outcast entering Mystikal's "Neck Uv Da Woods", but all their weirdness doesn't jibe with a chorus that doesn't really sing like it wants to. With "Come and see about me", Da Brat unimpresses on her guest rap, but Jive Records Label mate Petey Pablo makes you forget that this is a fairly typical challenge rap. Pablo gets a nice plug from Mystikal on the three mini-teasers at the end, The second and third bring back the dance and spark up the Rock and Roll.
Let's Get Ready Rocks and Rolls. It has some holes, but nothing too egregious, and it shakes up a dance floor beyond its hit single. Put it in your party.
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