Volume 94, Issue 93

Friday, March 16, 2001


Hand sex and videotape - Digipop explores techno art

Scanner wants you to open your mind

2 St. Thomas and back

Wes Borland goes to Oz

Wes Borland goes to Oz

Various Artists
OZ The Soundtrack
Nettwerk/Avatar Records

After locking down international TV markets for over four years, the people behind HBO's OZ series have decided to bring their harsh look at prison life to the music world, with the help of some of hip hop's finest performers.

Fortunately, they have made an almost perfect transition that echoes a political consciousness absent from today's commercially-infested rap industry. This can be seen in "Behind The Walls," a song in which Kurupt and Nate Dogg furiously spit their rhymes over a gunshot-filled beat, reminiscent of Public Enemy in their "Fight The Power" days.

The most refreshing part of the album is "OZ Theme 2000." The song features the deadly lyrical combination of Kool G Rap, Lord Jamar (of Brand Nubian), and Talib Kweli rapping over a remix of the catchy drum-and-horns OZ theme, which ends with a sound clip from the TV series.

It's good to finally see a soundtrack that has been specifically tailored to the show it represents, as opposed to these 'record company compilations' that have been passing as soundtracks over the last few years.

Although some questions may be raised about the inclusion of artists like Magic, Fiend, or Three 6 Mafia, known more for their 'Down South' beats than their potent verses, it seems apparent that the OZ soundtrack producers wanted to represent both East and West coast flavour. Still, it would have been nice to see more politically-charged artists come through, especially considering how well their images match some of OZ's characters.

Nevertheless, the fact that the MCs featured on the OZ soundtrack reflect the same prison/judicial themes found in the series, definitely makes this a unique and a powerful representation of what 'the most controversial show on television' is all about.

–Raoul Juneja

Duke Lion Fights the Terror!!

How much do we really know about the enigmatic Wes Borland?

Clearly, Limp Bizkit guitarist Borland dances to the beat of a different drum and, with his new solo project BIG dumb FACE, Borland throws all of his musical hats into his three-ring circus as he writes, performs, and produces all the tracks on his new album, Duke Lion Fights the Terror!!

The result is a strange trip through the carnival of Borland's demented daydreams, all set to music.

Duke Lion Fights the Terror!! is childish at best, but that's what makes it so fun. Borland offers little in the way of exposing his true persona, as many artists do when they go solo.

Instead Borland shows off another, more grotesque mask. Imagine throwing Ministry, Primus, and Alvin and the Chipmunks into a blender. Borland's creativity stretches far beyond the boundaries of Limp Bizkit into a whole other dimension.

While the material on Duke Lion Fights the Terror!! is perversely playful, there are some mature moments. The album is heavy, corny, and occasionally melodic.

Borland has potential, but Duke Lion Fights the Terror!! would have been better served using musicians more familiar with their particular trade. Despite this, Borland's ability to abandon the whining egotism and incomprehensible popularity of his former band is his biggest assest.

–Jeff Warren

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Copyright The Gazette 2000