Prozack Turner

Bang a Thon

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When the late journalist Hunter S. Thompson made his famous comment about the music industry being a place where "good men die like dogs," he struck a chord with a long list of musicians who had every reason to be resentful over how frustrating the industry can be at times. There are many sad stories on the music industry's boulevard of broken dreams -- the aging R&B songwriter who winds up working for an HMO because he isn't getting the royalty checks he should be getting, the folksinger who thought she had it made until her label hired a new A&R person who didn't share the previous A&R person's enthusiasm for her work. But thankfully, many talented artists keep plugging away despite major setbacks. For example, California rapper Prozack Turner (of Foreign Legion fame) was dealt an unkind blow when, in 2003, the Universal Music Group acquired the music division of DreamWorks (which he was signed to at the time) and his solo album, Death, Taxes, and Prozack, was shelved (although bootleg copies were circulated in hip-hop's underground). Despite being understandably soured on the music business, Turner went on to record another solo project, Bang a Thon, and released it on his own label, Hunger Strike Records, in 2006 -- and it's a good thing that he did because this is a solid hardcore rap/alternative rap outing that shows a strong affinity for the b-boy experience of the late '80s/early '90s but does so without sounding dated (by 2006 standards). Turner has been quoted as saying, "I like to write songs rather than just rhymes," which is an accurate statement because instead of simply flowing aimlessly, the West Coast MC usually tells some type of story whether he is rapping about the challenges of touring ("I Wanna Go Home"), social problems ("World's an Uproar") or adult film star Adriana Sage ("The Ballad of Adriana Sage"). The latter isn't raunchy; instead, Turner's ode to Sage is surprisingly thoughtful and finds him wondering what she is like as a person off-camera. Actually, the tune's thoughtfulness is not out of character for Turner, whose healthy balance of fun and intelligence serves him well on this memorable solo disc.

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