(Photo: Courtesy COB Digital)
As one fourth of Shady Records group Slaughterhouse, Crooked I shines as a verbal assassin. With his newest mixtape, Psalm 82:v6, the Long Beach MC steps out of his circle and attempts to reestablish his solo persona before the release of the Slaughterhouse, Welcome To: Our House, album this summer.
Crooked lives up to the lyrical expectations fans will have for him on the tape, weaving endless strings of complex bars together at a rapid pace. But the growth as an artist that listeners may expect to hear from the veteran is still lacking on Psalm, often leaving the feeling that he is using his super lyrical powers to hide his lack of creative ambition.
“Monsterous,” featuring his Slaughterhouse family and Canadian singer Colin Munroe, is by far the tape’s strongest track, finding Crooked shine with the help of his team. But despite his wealth of experience as a solo artist, he struggles to carry the listener’s attention for long enough to make an impact.
Certain songs stand out — “Nikki” contains a compelling flip of Prince’s classic “Darling Nikki,” and his memories of being influenced by Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube are relatable on “G.A.N.G. (Grind and Never Give up) — but overall the 18-track tape is not worth its weight in songs. Trae tha Truth, Twista, Ras Kass and Kurupt all arrive as welcomed guests within a glut of no-name features that flood the track list.
Overall, Psalm’s hyper-lyrical approach is exhilarating in doses, but often acts as too much of a crutch for Crooked. His rapid fire flows can enhance a track’s emotion, as they do on tracks like “Never Forget,” but they can also create an emotional border between him and the listener when abused, Crooked’s lyrical gifts can turn out to be his biggest curse.
Rating: 3 out of 5
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