Jayo Felony

Crip Hop

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Fans of The X-Files ought to snap up this long-awaited disc from San Diego rapper Jayo Felony, since he's got a conspiracy theory to explain every obstacle he's faced in his career. Originally signed to Def Jam, Jayo's parting with the label was somewhat less than amicable, and he's been mad ever since. The main targets of his ire on Crip Hop (named in honor of his gang affiliation) are Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg, each (dis)honored with a separate track, but there's plenty of beef to go around. Which is too bad, really, because while his hot air is sometimes entertaining, Jayo's enemies list overshadows a legitimate talent. Over a series of musical, G-funk-influenced tracks, he offers personality to spare, with a powerful delivery that makes up for some of the routine gang-bangin' themes. And he shows he has an ear for the all-important hook, in off-kilter but ear-catching concoctions like the loopily chanted "Swing," as well as the impressive crossover move "She Loves Me" (which features a guest appearance by pint-sized Young Nube, all of seven years old). The biggest problem facing Jayocould be what will happen if he ever runs out of foes -- but a quick flip through the detailed liner notes to Crip Hop makes that seem like an unlikely prospect indeed.

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