Esham

Bruce Wayne: Gotham City 1987

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    5
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Five years after his double-disc ode to morbidity, Judgment Day, Esham's Bruce Wayne: Gotham City 1987 album finds him distancing himself fairly far from the death-obsessed themes of his early work. Instead, Esham takes a stab at conceptualization, casting himself as Bruce Wayne. It's a refreshing change for the prolific Detroit rapper, and it's no doubt an intriguing venture; however, the album doesn't fully realize its potential. Instead of indulging in the theatrics that made Judgment Day -- even with its sincerely perverse themes and admittedly juvenile slant -- so utterly fascinating, Esham spends too much time here posing in traditional rap clich├ęs, rapping about "how it's time to make another million" on the opening track, "Comerica." It's sad to see Esham, a truly uncompromising underground rapper, turn into what he presented an alternative to. Luckily, his production is still signature, and his role-playing does make for an interesting album, particularly on the second half of the album. This is definitely one of Esham's better albums, but it's hard to get over the fact that it never realizes its potential as a wonderful play on Detroit as Gotham City and himself as Bruce Wayne.

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