Dopeman Music

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After a quarter-century in the game, ten-plus solo albums, and nearly as many group efforts (between his records with Geto Boys, Facemob, and the Product), there isn't much left in the rap music industry that Brad Jordan hasn't tried his hand at. With the release of the inspired Dopeman Music, we can remove "mixtape" from that already short list. Still, it isn't so clear what qualifies Dopeman Music as such since there's no DJ hosting, no previously released cuts and no jacked beats. But no need to nitpick. After two records which Scarface professed to be his last (both 2007's Made and Emeritus a year later) and a number of interviews in which he insisted he was through rapping, hardcore hip-hop fans will be pleased just to hear the man's distinctive flow over some brand new beats. And it's not as if Scarface just shows up; he puts in strong performances throughout the record, doing most of the heavy lifting alongside a handful of young blood rappers (including H-Town homies Monk Kaza and Mr. Lo Key as well as promising Detroit-born lyricist B. James, who holds his own on one solo joint, "In My Blood") who do well to follow 'Scarface's lead in tone and content. The songs included on Dopeman Music are true to the record's title and the Houston legend's usual grim subject matter -- the trials and tribulations of the drug game, greed, and friends-turned-foes -- dominates songs like "Gwap," "The Ghetto Report," "Wanted," and "Hustle Game," as well as the excellent title track. 'Scarface and company take time out for a single R&B-tinged relationship-drama joint, "Get Lost" with Louisiana-based vocalist Rodney Gant. But Scarface's most impressive lyrical performance here comes in the form of the furious minute-long tirade "The N Word" in which he attacks the Harris County D.A.'s office and criticizes the American legal system as a whole, lamenting "You get no respect in the courts if you black/If you a Mexican, they wanna send you back to the border/White judge, black court reporter." According to Scarface, Dopeman Music is just a prelude to an upcoming LP, but it in itself stands up against any Dirty South album to come out in 2010.

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