West Shore

B-Side Radio

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There was a time when it was surprising to hear rap combined with rock. That was back in the '80s, when Run-D.M.C. and the Beastie Boys brought rock guitars to a hip-hop foundation and Anthrax and the Red Hot Chili Peppers brought rapping to a rock foundation (although the Beasties were a punk band before they became full-time rappers and signed with Def Jam). But these days, one expects to hear a lot of rapping on modern rock stations -- having some type of hip-hop influence is second nature to a lot of alt-rockers. Because West Shore is an interracial trio that fuses rock and rap, some uninformed individuals might jump to the conclusion that their debut album, B-Side Radio, is on the Limp Bizkit/Korn/(hed) pe/Methods of Mayhem tip. But that isn't the case. Limp Bizkit and Korn are alternative metal bands that incorporate a lot of rapping; they bring rap to a rock foundation but have more singing than rapping on their albums. B-Side Radio, however, is the work of a Los Angeles-based rap group that just happens to love rock. On this 2002 release, vocalist Frank Ramirez isn't a singer who does a lot of rapping -- he's a straight-up MC, and his accompaniment includes a rock guitarist (Jeremy Sykes) as well as a hip-hop turntable wizard (DJ Mike T). The latter is best known for his work with Compton's Most Wanted, one of the many L.A-based gangsta rap groups that was influenced by N.W.A. and Ice-T. But B-Side Radio isn't really gangsta rap in the traditional sense, although there are hints of Cypress Hill in West Shore's material. Neither G-funk nor the usual imitations of Korn and Limp Bizkit, B-Side Radio is among 2002's more interesting rap-rock efforts.

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