Hustlaz Heaven

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Shifting the hip-hop spotlight directly on the untapped metropolis of Michigan City, IN, is MAG (Mad Ass Gangsta), who has made it his solemn vow to prove hip-hop is alive and well, even in Indiana. Serving up something heads can ride to, MAG comes off like a young Scarface on "Filthy Rich," over a sedated paper-chasing track from Kaygee. With "Epidemic," MAG puts a sparse Fender-Rhodes track to work, ripping his verses and absolutely stitching the hook. MAG also thrives over the plush piano arrangement of "Song for Dubb," as the track suddenly breaks off into two separate properties. MAG sounds most at ease rocking up-tempo numbers, and "Nuthing to Prove" drives that point home. Established beat maestro Kaygee blesses MAG with his platinum touch behind the boards, handling a majority of the production. Kaygee's usual gamut of ceremonious Naughty by Nature arrangements are inconspicuously absent, as he caters his East Coast sound specifically to suite MAG's Midwest style. And while the transition is fairly seamless, there are a few jagged stretches and rough edges. MAG does not break any new ground topically, or establish himself as a top-notch lyricist on his debut. However he does ooze charisma and manages to keep all eyes on him by exhibiting a very laid-back flow and decisive delivery throughout.

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