Project Pat

Crook by da Book: The Fed Story

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Project Pat's often delayed Crook by da Book: The Fed Story finally arrived at the end of 2006, a year when the man finally joined Three 6 Mafia, the Oscar-winning crew he's always been affiliated with since the beginning, without ever being an official member. Judging from this gutter-fabulous release and the Gangsta Grillz mixtape he unleashed with DJ Drama earlier in the year, he's taking the high-profile promotion in stride and with his feet firmly planted on the streets. Featuring the same sleazy swagger and the same uncompromising allegiance to the ghetto, Crook by da Book is like a properly financed version of his Ghetty Green LP with beefier beats and more polished production. Everything rumbles the trunk due to that fat Hypnotize Minds sound, and hot topics are booties, making paper, and occasionally survival, all delivered simply and sweetened with infectious hooks. Usual suspects Pimp C and Three 6 Mafia feel right at home on their highlight tracks, and the interesting choices of Beanie Sigel and crooner Lyfe Jennings work just as well and serve to broaden the album a bit. Just a bit really, since Pat remains Pat, and while he's lost none of his touch, he hasn't grown much, either, and the album lives or dies by the listener's tolerance for his tried-and-true, down-and-dirty formula. The single-minded Crook by da Book might not woo many newcomers toward his hard-thugging corner of the hip-hop world, but Hypnotize Minds fans worried a Oscar would make this family go soft can now exhale.

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