Baby Bash

Tha Smokin' Nephew

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    8
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It happens over and over. Regional hit gets rapper signed to a major label and a subpar album ends up being rushed out. On the strength of Baby Bash's Snoop-like quick and effortless delivery and lively production from Happy Perez, Tha Smokin' Nephew bucks the trend. A refreshing combination of street smarts and respect for a woman's body and character, "Suga Suga" is the high-profile single (originally released under Baby Bash's Baby Beesh moniker). Included are both a dancehall-inspired remix and the more laid-back original that brings the keen observations of "It Was a Good Day" to mind, minus the anger and paranoia. That's not to say Bash is without annoyance, but Houston, TX, police must be more forgiving of chronic blunt smokers than those in California since Tha Smokin' Nephew is more concerned with getting its own thing going than changing the world. Dismissive of the get-rich-quick mindset on "Oh Wow" and "kissing the drama goodbye" on "Don't Disrespect My Mind," Baby Bash comes off as insightful and more concerned with the long-term than the competition. Happy Perez's sense of pacing and structure makes the album flow smoothly despite sounding like G-funk one minute and the sunny suburban reggae of Sublime the next. Guest appearances are left to the Houston crew to keep Bash comfortable without a Busta or Jay-Z in sight. Although it was mixed in the snowy land of Norway, Big Ice's guest production on "Image of Pimp" brings the needed old-school funk and agrees with the rest of the Texas-based album. At 17 tracks it runs a little long, but there are only a few seeds and sticks to pick out of Baby Bash's fat bag.

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