Sporty Thievz

Street Cinema

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    6
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AllMusic Review by

The very name Sporty Thievz leaves little doubt that the Yonkers trio are straight-up, stylish gangstas. And, since this is New York, not L.A., that means an emphasis on lyrical gymnastics and hard-hitting beats. And since their debut Street Cinema was produced by Ski, a collegue of Jay Z, it does contain some irresistible beats and grooves, designed to keep the party jumping. And it would keep the party jumping, if Street Cinema wasn't conceived as an audio movie, necessitating the appearence of sketches and dialogue between songs. Telling a story with an album ain't that easy -- the Who couldn't do it with Tommy, Genesis couldn't do it with The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway -- and the worst of it is, Street Cinema doesn't even really want to tell a story; it just wants the appearance of a narrative, so the album might stand out from the rest of the pack. A narrative would also hopefully make people ignore the crew's cribbing of various lyrical styles. A little stealing, though, doesn't matter (especially when you declare yourselves to be Sporty Thievz), since the group can turn out good street-level hip-hop. They just don't do it often enough on the record, and when they do, there's too much junk floating around the album to make the good stuff instantly recognizable. Still, that handful of good cuts makes the entire enterprise worth investigating once, even if you find that you won't return to this Street Cinema that often.

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