The knock on Ras Kass has always been that he's a great MC who has never made a truly great album, thanks to substandard production from beatsmiths whose work fails to do justice to his dense, multi-layered lyrics and cocky delivery. But while the beatwork on Kass' albums has seldom been as bad as critics have charged -- check out the swaggering, ornate gangsta-waltz that powers "Ghetto Fabulous" -- lackluster production does seem to be the Achilles' heel keeping the Carson, CA, native from receiving the critical and commercial acclaim he deserves. A rapper's rapper, Kass has a flair for pitch-black humor, elaborate metaphors, and ambitious song concepts, as illustrated by "Interview With a Vampire," a lyrical and intellectual tour de force that finds Kass rapping from the perspective of God, himself, and Lucifer. But Kass' God complex doesn't end there. A legend in his own mind whose arrogance belies his paltry album sales, Kass spits delectably misanthropic, comically conceited verses throughout Rassassination, claiming on "The End," for example, that "When it's all over I'm a retire to an Island in the Caymans/Enslaving Caucasians/Living off your mama's life savings." Rassassination is full of such smart, polysyllabic hip-hop quotables, but not even guest appearances from the high-powered likes of Xzibit, RZA, and Dr. Dre could place the album on the mainstream hip-hop radar. Rassassination isn't quite a great album -- the production flounders at times and it's far too long and uneven -- but its many transcendent moments suggest that a great Ras Kass album is not only highly possible, but pretty much inevitable.
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AllMusic Review by Nathan Rabin
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