Ces Cru

Codename: Ego Stripper

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Still a force to be reckoned with, Ces Cru's sophomore effort for Tech N9ne's Strange Music label retains the energy and intensity of their debut while walking the pimp walk with a more comfortable, sure strut. Maybe the artwork -- from comic book artist Rob Prior -- looks like a straight-to-video Wesley Snipes flick, but otherwise, this is top-notch, from the slow credo opener called "Fate" ("What you hold, to slow you down?" before "Go improve yourself, what the fuck am I supposed to do?") to the quest-for-truth closer called "Axiom" ("Waitin' at red lights, sit for the control system/Heroin addicts smack their arm and go to soul prison"). The appearances of N9ne, Wrekonize, and Murs make this Strange Music family-filled, but Ces Cru have street appeal past the usual label roster, as Codename: Ego Stripper displays classic EPMD qualities with a bit of that Mobb Deep menace and the political punch of Dead Prez.

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