On Conversation With a Devil, Andre Nickatina returns to center stage with an ambitious "concept" record recording the life of our protagonist, Dre Dog. Unfortunately, that's about as good as it gets. The first song is just absolutely repulsive, made up of rhymes that could have been taken from a middle-school poetry workshop. Rhyming Sugar Ray with Sade is a bit shy of genius, but right from the get-go it is blatantly obvious that Madonna recruited Nickatina to write the lyrics for her rap in "American Life." With such bouts of prose as "It was 1984, I was on a plane that was about to soar" and "my girlfriend drinks Coronas and knows about the Ayatollah," Eminem and Nas can rest peacefully at night, knowing that their crowns will not be challenged by Nicky. The monotone delivery is reminiscent of some old-school MCs, but even old schools delivered with flair and style. This delivers a smattering of cottage cheese and water when expecting a sirloin steak. The production is mediocre at best, with the vocals being about 4,000 decibels louder than the music within the mix. "Dice of Life" is like a bad Irish jig/pirate tune straight out of a three-star theme restaurant, with some wretched lyrics bragging about hanging with Shaq and how Mike Tyson loves custom autos. Even LFO was more poetic when reminiscing about girls in Abercrombie & Fitch. Things get better, thankfully, as Nickatina hits his stride on "Soul of a Coke Dealer," where he shines and keeps going without breathing until the last beats. Unfortunately, things return to their normal form with "The God and the Stripper." Complete with 808 drum machine shuffles and a poorly strummed Latin-style guitar, it's a love story about a powerful man in his community and a woman who does certain things for a living. "Train With No Love" speaks of his time in prison being sodomized, losing his wife, and various other unfortunate incidents before turning his life around. After having name-checked every brand imaginable short of Brillo within the span of 60 minutes (hoping for an endorsement deal), the album finally comes to a screeching halt. For a value-added bonus or beverage coaster, there's a bonus DVD of the movie version of the album. How someone can stitch all of these songs together is a mystery on par with the last four movies in the Police Academy series, but it's worth checking out. I guess.
AllMusic Review by Rob Theakston
Track Listing - Disc 1
feat: Sam Quinn