Everlast

Eat at Whitey's

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Nobody ever would have guessed that the leader of House of Pain would come back after a bout of obscurity and a serious heart attack to reinvent himself as a hip-hop troubadour, rasping out bluesy folk-rock to a steady-rolling beat. The fact that Everlast had the vision to change his tune was surprising enough, but the fact that it worked and found a wide audience was stunning. When it came time to deliver Eat at Whitey's, the follow-up to Whitey Ford Sings the Blues, in 2000, Everlast was smart enough to expand on a good thing, turning out a sequel that built on the folk-rap-rock that rejuvenated his career, while adding slight new twists. The problem is, the new twists, particularly in the guise of cameos from rockers like Carlos Santana and Warren Haynes, don't work particularly well. Also, whenever he veers toward straight rap, such as on the B-Real duet "Deadly Assassins," the music falls a little flat -- just like it did on the predecessor. Still, these not-quite successful moments don't detract from an album that delivers on the promise of Whitey Ford. Whenever Everlast lays back and spins stories and tall tales on his own, his blend of folk, rock, blues, rap, and pop culture clicks. It can be a little silly -- his rhymes are occasionally goofy, his growl a little too raspy -- but at its best, it's evocative, catchy, and ingratiating. If he can't sustain the quality of the first three songs throughout the record, at least it connects several more times, enough to make Eat at Whitey's satisfying for listeners that want a little more of "What It's Like."

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