Mac Dre

Da U.S. Open

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Young Bay Area rapper Andre Macassi was murdered on November 1, 2004. A collaboration with fellow Vallejo native Mac Mall, Da U.S. Open was the album Mac Dre was finishing at the time of his death, and as such, it stands, a mite unsteadily, as his last will and testament. Mac Dre's oddball, laid-back delivery (think Snoop Dogg back before he slipped into easy self-parody, but weirder, with deliberately odd inflections and heavy doses of seemingly made-up slang) is the most unique thing about this album; Mac Mall is a more straightforward rapper, and the beats are tough and minimalist without being particularly innovative. The highlight tracks are the two most idiosyncratic: "Willingly," which features a long freestyle rap by Mac Dre over a hypnotic acoustic guitar loop, and the album closing "Dreido," a thoroughly modern updating of the classic 1983 12" "Radioactivity (Let's Jam)" by Royalcash, featuring guest raps from E-40. The latter is the best song on the album by some distance, an instant-classic hip-hop single that pays tribute to the golden age while updating it. It's a fitting sendoff.

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