Prior to the release of his debut album, Canibus had a hit with "Second Round K.O.," a single that attacked LL Cool J in a style reminiscent of classic '80s cutting contests. It was an audacious beginning to what appeared to be a promising career, but the full-length album Can-I-Bus doesn't quite live up to the potential indicated in that hard-hitting single. Part of the problem is that Canibus is a monotonous rapper, sticking to the same delivery no matter what the subject of the lyrics or the tone of the music. He also shows surprising misogynist, violent, and homophobic streaks, especially for a protégé of the Fugees' Wyclef Jean. Even with all these faults, Canibus does have his strengths -- in particular, his intense delivery is intoxicating in its power (which is part of the problem, too, since its very intensity can be too much) -- and when he's on his game, he comes up with some clever, unexpected turns of phrase. Unfortunately, those moments only occur sporadically over the course of this overlong debut, but when they do happen, it's easy to see what all the hype is about.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine