Volume 92, Issue 19
Tuesday, October 6, 1998
no funny business
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Canibus can't bust nuttin'
Can I bus
The most anticipated hip hop album in recent memory features the industry's newest prodigy, Canibus. Fresh off a vendetta with LL Cool J, James and a smash single "Second Round KO," expectations have run high. Throw Wyclef Jean and the Refugee production team into the mix and people start thinking album of the year. Right? Wrong. Can I Bus is a bust.
When Canibus burst onto the scene taunting and challenging the Ladies Lover, it was a David and Golliath confrontation of epic proportions. But Canibus was unstirred, spitting insult after insult on "Second Round KO" and yelling "We can get it on, live on your own sitcom."
The hip hop world was abuzz about the young buck, criticizing one of the Def Jam pioneers and arguably the best solo rapper of all time. He actually started making devoted LL followers second guess their living legend. That's because the boy has some mad skills and a metaphoric flow that will leave some MCs asking for their mamas.
On Can I Bus, the man is pissed off at the current state of hip hop and is here to clean up the mess, phony MCs beware. But the beats betray his inner rage, as they just don't match his flow. Only "Patriots" and "How We Roll" have a musical foundation that match his style. The rest of the album ranges from the weird, to the basic, to the experimental.
Tracks like "Get Retarded," while sticking to the theme of the album, come across as strange. "Channel Zero" is a trip into his delusional world of mass government conspiracy. Lyrics like "with knowledge of genetic information, you need to fear science not Satan" are overridden by a whiney-ass chorus that gets annoying.
There's the sentimental attempt of "I Honour You," which doesn't stir up any emotions and "Rip Rock" is an unimaginative attempt at mixing hip hop and rock'n'roll, which ends up drowning lyrics in a sea of guitar riffs.
There's no doubt that the shortcomings of the album fall on the shoulders of the production team. Wyclef has to be blamed for not properly showcasing the talent he took under his wing. Canibus once said in an interview that he doesn't "want to be remembered as the guy who did 'Second Round KO.'" Thus far, there's not much else. The threat to LL's credibility is busted.
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