2 Pistols

Death Before Dishonor

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Loaded with hooks, weekend anthems for thugs, and bright J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League productions, Death Before Dishonor rocks the house, but as a debut album, it fails to lay the groundwork for a long-term career. Newcomer 2 Pistols is offered the same style of beats his Florida brother and fellow J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League subject Rick Ross receives, to the point where you could pitch the raps down a bit and pass this off as Port of Miami, Vol. 2. The slick and infectious "She Got It" single is practically a T-Pain track, while the feel-good "Been Throwin Money" borrows everything great about Ross' "Money Make Me Come" and ends up a swagger-jacking success. The League can't lose when they update Mad Cobra's reggae hit for "Flexx 2008," and the minimal "We Run It" scores thanks to U.S.D.A. members Blood Raw and Slick Pulla's allegiance to street music. The excellent "Robbery" (which is refreshingly written from the victim's point of view) also suggests the album should have traded some of the polish and high-profile guest stars -- Ray J, Trey Songz -- for more gutter tracks, while the hungry and convincing closer, "From the Bottom," displays Pistols in top form, telling his story in a vivid manner. Way too little, way too late to call this a compelling debut, but just like any given Ross album, Death Before Dishonor has singles to spare and enough of that Florida flavor to keep fans happy.

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