5th Ward Boyz

Rated G

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As the title indicates, the 5th Ward Boyz's second album, Rated G, is nothing but straight-up G-funk. The group works the standard booming bass and slinky keyboards for all they're worth, and they occasionally come up with first-class tracks like "Concrete Hell," which comes through with a subdued, muscular force. However, the group can't sustain that power throughout the course of the album. Frequently, Rated G is simply competent -- it's well done, but delivered without much style or originality. None of the members is a particularly distinctive rapper, nor is the music exceptionally produced and arranged. Even with these drawbacks, Rated G remains enjoyable. It is the work of talented, but not inspired, imitators and will do if The Chronic and Doggystyle are sounding stale.

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