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Drama Gangsta Grillz: The Album [review]

I've actually been waiting for this CD for a bit. After the feds swooped down on him, I assumed he was going to put the whole project on freeze, so I applaud Drama, Don Cannon and the rest of the AMG fam for pressing on and creating this opus, which combines the hot beats of a dope mixtape and, well, the ridiculous rhymes of a dope mixtape.

"The Setup"
The intro to this disc is a skit showing what probably happened during the raid of Drama and Cannon's studios. It's done well, but it's not really funny or anything, plus it's predictable - I knew dude was going to throw this disc in his CD player after the raid. It'd be a dope setup to the album if this was something that was constant throughout the CD.

"Gangsta Grillz (ft. Lil' Jon)"
Lil' Jon gets his nigga on, being crazy ignorant and non-rappin'. Big bottomed beat on this one, which is basically a minute and a half of Jon talkin'. Yawn.

"Takin' Pictures (ft. Young Jeezy, Willie The Kid, Jim Jones, Rick Ross, Young Buck And T.I.)"
Dame Grease produced a heater of a track on this. It's a simple enough melody, but it has that intensity and fury. Big anthem for those d-boys and shit on the block. Jeezy lets us know he wants to be a crack dealer, Willie tries to sound relevant, Jimmy still drops "ballin'!" adlibs, Rick Ross sounds like Jeezy with swag, and Young Buck is just happy to be included. T.I. waxes everything without really saying anything. One of the highlights of this disc.

"Keep It Gangsta (ft. Yo Gotti, Webbie & Lil' Boosie)"
What a waste. Wack beat, wack MCs, predictable all the way through.

"Cannon (Remix) (ft. Lil' Wayne, Willie The Kid, Freeway & T.I.)"
The original was a wild number with Busta Rhymes and Tip going for broke over a heater of a Cannon track. This one doesn't top it, sadly. You'd think someone like Weezy could do the track justice, but he's spat better on lesser beats. I am not feeling Willie at all... he sounds like he's trying to be Papoose, like that's hot. Freeway does the beat justice, and Tip sounds weird, like he had a cold. Why touch ill shit?

"Makin' Money Smokin' (ft. Willie The Kid & LA The Darkman)"
Why? ... answer me that.

"5000 Ones (ft. Nelly, T.I., Diddy, Yung Joc, Willie The Kid, Young Jeezy & Twista)"
The pre-requisite skrip club track. And it sucks. It tries everything to be "Make It Rain", but fails. Ultimately, an expensive turd.

"The Art Of Storytellin' Part 4 (ft. OutKast & Marsha Ambrosius)"
Noz already let you guys know how ill the Andre verse is. Cannon's beat is a gem, understated and smooth, letting true MCs do what they need to. Probably the most Hip-Hop track on the disc, and another true highlight.

"Katt Williams Interlude"
What's pimpin', pimpin'? Katt just doing his thing, talkin' about smokin' weed and being his hilarious self. Not really necessary, but I am a fan.

"187 (ft. Project Pat, BG and Eightball & MJG)"
This track got that 808 drum rockin'. Project Pat's flow got old years ago, but its funny to hear him say shit the way he speaks. Not really a track you put on to get into. It's one of those tracks that you end up keeping on when you are passing a dutch in a car on a cold night. You don't want to listen to it, but it's OK enough to let ride.

"The Mad DJ"
Dumb interlude where some white girl buys the Gangsta Grillz mixtape while some dumb dude wants a DJ AlmostDoesn'tCount mixtape. I don't know many mixtape sellers who will tell you that they don't want to sell you something. That never happens in my hood.

"Beneath The Diamonds (ft. Devin The Dude, Twista, LA The Darkman & Mr. Porter)"
Some pimp shit. Lovin' that smoooth ass beat. I mean anything with Twista AND Devin The Dude is beautiful idea. D12's Mr. Porter does his thing with the beats though.

"Talk About Me (ft. Young Buck, Lloyd Banks & Tony Yayo)"
I love this beat. Nottz is the man with his. Young Buck's verse and chorus are laughable. Lloyd phones in his 16, and Yayo... Yayo. I know MCs like to do doubles, to accent certain lines and shit. Yayo sounds like he's trying to be his own hypeman, which sucks when all of his lyrics are garbage.

"No More (ft. Lloyd, Willie The Kid & T.I.)"
Is this an attempt at a radio single? If so, it sucks. And why is Willie The Kid all over this? He is not someone you should be building an empire around.

"Diddy Interlude"
Diddy sucks on Drama's dick. Explains why Dram is called "Mr. Thanksgiving". Yawn.

"Throw Ya Sets Up (ft. Yung Joc, Willie The Kid, Jadakiss And LA The Darkman)"
Why Jadakiss is in between these bullshit MCs is a great Question. Cannon's got a batch of beastly beats. I think, with a beat this fierce, they coulda took out Willie, Joc and LA and put in, like, Beanie Sigel, Ghostface and who knows... Kool G Rap or some shit. They fucked the dog on this one.

"Aye (ft. Young Dro & Big Kuntry King)"
P$C in the house. I'm not the biggest fan of either Dro or Kuntry, but this has a nice bop to it. The Runners are everywhere... on the low.

"Grillz Gleamin' (ft. Lil' Scrappy, Bohagon, Diamond & Princess (Of Crime Mob))"
What a bunch of bullshit. Is that an R. Kelly sample in this? This beat sounds unfinished. And the rhymes sound unfocused. Too weak of a track this late in the disc.

"Gettin' Money (ft. Paul Wall, Killa Kyleon, Lil' Keke & Slim Thug)"
Texas in the house. Nice laidback 'Lac ridin' music. Not that that's always dope, but you can chief and bop to this one.

The boss at the precinct gets upset because they busted mixtape DJs. That's the only connection to "The Setup", which is just sad, given the potential for commentary Dram could have exhibited.

"Cheers (ft. Pharrell & The Clipse)"
Dope Khao beat, with some sly bass in it. Skateboard P said this is for the fly Spanish girls, then just spits garbage. Pusha & Malice let us know that they can murk beats that are NOT Neptunes creations. Fire.

I'm disappointed. The potential = right there. Don Cannon, fly guest MCs, but this is just like your misguided mixtapes. No underlying, interconnecting theme. No genre-defining moments. It has some dope tracks on it, but it's muddied by a host of wack rappers, tired beats, and seems to be thrown together to capitalize on old trends.

rock the dub gives Gangsta Grillz: The Album a 2.5 out of 5. The pros don't outweight the cons by a long shot. If you want to sip on some 'gac and puff a few blunts, this is the soundtrack to that. If you are looking for the real, you will be more disappointed than anything.

Burn Deez: "The Art Of Storytellin' Part 4", "Talk About Me", "Takin' Pictures"

related links:
DJ Drama on MySpace
The Aphilliates website
Gangsta Grillz website

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