Silkk the Shocker

Based on a True Story

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There are two interesting things about Silkk the Shocker's fifth album, and that's more than usual. One is that it's been three years since his last album and he's grown when it comes to rapping. It's not by leaps and bounds, since he's still more a party chanter than a lyric dart thrower, but he pauses and asks questions and that's a relief from his old thug spitting. The second is how old-school No Limit the album is, recalling the label's heyday even with its slick recognition of Lil Jon's domination of the South, 2004. In its mix with Petey Pablo guesting, "We Like Them Girls" is the slamming, Lil Jon-inspired single and a solid jam for a weekend roll on 24s. The excellent Southern boot to the head "Playa Playa" is the album's other great track, ending a tight run of tunes with one speed bump. The creeping "Got It on Lock" with woop-woop synths segues into the ominous "We Don't Dance We Bounce" and the funkier "Just Do It" with great care, but when the Petey Pablo-less mix of "We Like Them Girls" follows five tracks after the single mix, you've got to wonder why the album gives up on the great flow. Producer Myke Diesel takes the Lil Jon sound to the underground on his many cuts and XL grabs the same bit of Spandau Ballet's "True" that P.M. Dawn did for the nice breather "Be There." If these sound like great strides to get some aboveground attention, Silkk's constant lyrical venom will keep him off the radio. It's good to hear the little bits of this new, questioning Silkk -- but his anger wrestles with his skills and comes out the winner more times than not, making the album lose its punch on repeated listens. Based on a True Story recalls the good (underground and hard) and the bad (sleazy and cheap) of the old No Limit and displays a bit of growth for the rapper. The slow rate at which he's developing is barely worth watching for outsiders, but the thugs understand and can trip on this for one summer, maybe two.

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