Trick Daddy

Thug Matrimony: Married to the Streets

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Growing in strength like his Southern brothers OutKast, Trick Daddy has released one high-quality album after another, each one expanding on the best moments of the last one. Being a true, sleazy thug might always keep him from reaching OutKast's poptacular, always-on-MTV success. Too bad, since Thug Matrimony is his Stankonia and would have him blowing up big time if it weren't for his awfully nasty, MTV-unfriendly mouth and the widespread fear of down-bottom Southern rap. It's an ambitious album with 17 tracks and packed with guest stars -- ones you'd expect and one you wouldn't, like Ron Isley. Isley's soulful voice on the guitar-filled "I Cry" is just one of many astonishing curve balls the album throws the listener, every one of them crossing the plate. An obscure Talking Heads track, "Sugar on My Tongue," is the oddball basis for the excellent jam "Sugar (Gimme Some)" with Cee-Lo and Ludacris guesting. Ozzy Osbourne's yelp from "Crazy Train" adds to the chaos of "Let's Go," featuring Twista and an especially hot Lil' Jon. If that isn't enough star power for you, Jazze Pha, Money Mark, Ying Yang Twins, and that long-lost Southern diva Khia join the party, but this is Trick's album all the way. He's corrected some errors made last time out by tightening up his poignant numbers to be more on-point, and the production is light years ahead of anything else he's ever done. Even the skits are worth repeated listens, and although the album runs over an hour, you'd be hard-pressed to find a track to skip. Be warned: while the music is glittery gold, Trick's mouth can get porno-store filthy and "J.O.D.D." could make Larry Flynt blush. If you can handle that, Thug Matrimony is nothing short of fantastic and required listening for fans of the Dirty South.

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