Biz Markie

Weekend Warrior

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Biz Markie opens Weekend Warrior, his first LP in a decade, with a 30-second freestyle (over acoustic guitar) that's as disarming and hilarious as the ones he batted out of the park when allowed a bit of space on Beastie Boys records of the '90s. Unfortunately, it's one of the few bright spots on a record that illustrates the fact that although the Biz may be surprisingly talented with an off-the-cuff rhyme, he doesn't improve when given more time to think. The rhymes on Weekend Warrior are, simply put, inane. No other rapper with a name as celebrated as Markie's has ever put out a record with so many wack rhymes and arhythmic flow; to quote just one -- and not the worst, at that -- "I flip so many styles, my name should be Flipper /On Three's Company, I wish I was Jack Tripper." His rhymes are usually slow, painfully slow; at least a half-step too slow, and far slower than those heard on any of his Juice Crew classics -- several of which were actually written by Big Daddy Kane. Biz does produce a few of the best tracks here, giving "Tear S**t Up" and "Do Your Thang" (featuring P. Diddy) the raw energy of classic old-school hip-hop. Elsewhere, though, his attempts at replicating a bounce track ("Let Me See U Bounce," with Elephant Man) or an R&B crossover jam ("Like a Dream") result in a parade of lukewarm clich├ęs. Producer legend Mark the 45 King shows up for an exercise in nostalgia called "Turn Back the Hands of Time," but the old school or the Golden Age certainly never sounded this cloying (despite a few heartfelt words for those who've passed). The most embarrassing moment of all comes on "Chinese Food," an unfortunate song that begins as a simple shout-out to Biz's favorite foods, but ends with a few bars of potentially offensive nonsense language. Granted, that's a low point, but Weekend Warrior has no high points to balance everything else here -- the baffling, the bizarre, and the banal.

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