Reef the Lost Cauze

Feast or Famine

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The third album is always the key for a rapper, the one that proves whether they have any staying power or not. Judging by Feast or Famine, Reef the Lost Cauze doesn't have much to worry about, but he's also not likely to bust out much beyond his current level of cult fame. The Philadelphia-based rapper has a good-to-great flow (the verse of "Commander in Chief" that reworks a Chappelle's Show catch phrase into an impressive jag of interior rhymes is a particular standout) and his beats rarely descend into the usual bass-heavy clich├ęs. Still, the album only sporadically catches fire, as on the trippy, hard-rocking retro-psychedelic soul of "Coltrane," which wouldn't sound out of place on an album by Common. More tracks as inventive and sonically playful as that would make up for the heard-it-before big-pimpin' boasts of "I'm Rich." Feast or Famine isn't a bad record, merely one that doesn't entirely live up to its potential.

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