Chubb Rock

The One

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If you'd asked a hypothetical leading hip-hop expert what the main difference between East Coast and West Coast rappers was in the early '90s, he might have explained that the West was more interested in beats and grooves, while the Northeast was concerned with rapping technique. Well respected in New York rap circles, Chubb Rock had plenty of technique -- something there's no shortage of on The One. The album leaves no doubt that his rapping skills are first-rate, but technique only carries Rock so far. Although decent and at times exhilarating, The One isn't a great album. Rock (who often incorporates dancehall reggae) is at his best on excellent message songs like "What's the Word" and "The Night Scene," an arresting description of the horrors that surround drugs. But his boasting raps wear thin after a while. Rock has the chops; it's his lyrics that aren't always memorable.

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