G.I. Joe Killaz

G.I. Joe Killaz

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One of the more extraordinary rap albums you're liable to come across, G.I. Joe Killaz at first seems like a one-shot joke but actually reveals itself to be an album of much creative richness, conceptually as well as lyrically and sonically. The underlying concept here is to depict the villainous Cobra collective from the popular early-'80s children's cartoon show G.I. Joe as a rap trio, with the show's three principal figures -- Destro, the Baroness, and Cobra Commander -- the trio members and the show's principal theme -- a Cold War-inspired good-evil dichotomy -- the underlying lyrical theme. If you remember the show, and perhaps even the affiliated merchandising, you'll likely find G.I. Joe Killaz quite amusing, especially since the album samples the show at will; however, if you don't know G.I. Joe from He-Man or Thundercats, you may be a bit lost but not totally uninterested. The production here is quite novel, the work of Cobra Commander (better known as Tomas Jirku, one of Canada's more accomplished techno producers). The rapping is likewise novel, certainly dictated by the thematic boundaries at play yet still unexpected, particularly on songs like "Eau de Cobra," "The Seduction," and "Who Spilled the Juice," where the lyrics are downright ludicrous. Furthermore, the Baroness showcases some impressive singing on "Takin' Over the World" and "Woman Scorned," two tracks that are consequently album highlights. Sure, it's hard to get past the novelty of G.I. Joe Killaz. Once the initial surprise subsides, though, you're still left with the craft and ingenuity, which are certainly marvelous enough to warrant subsequent listens.

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