In the 2004 post-9/11 world with America facing one of its most divided elections, the suburban kids need something less complex to rebel and scream about. Hip-hop's street-level thug life has been cabled into kid's bedrooms, so Footloose-styled rebellion is out of the question and labeling Avril Lavigne "punk" hasn't fooled all of them. Times are perfect for the Kottonmouth Kings, and as they should, adults with "taste" dismiss them as crap. It's something the Kings wear as a badge on Fire It Up, another album that gives the finger to nonbelievers. This time the finger comes with an extra helping of hip-hop and less of the garbage punk the Kings used to fill half of their albums with. The punk parts are short and the hip-hop -- more fan boy than authentic -- is as sticky and dank as what's in the band's Baggies. Speaking of which, this is one of the least weed-oriented albums from the band. Instead, the Kings focus on building the ICP-style cult and their cottage industry, Suburban Noize Records. When the bandmembers infer they're spearheading a street-level revolution, it's hard to take, but no doubt there's a ton of heart on the record. Respect them for giving it up to the fans and it gets easier to ignore their shortcomings. The production is better than ever and "Bring It On" should place in the band's top three songs of all time. Borrow a teenager's iPod, turn it up loud, and party like the the Beasties never went to Tibet. Hurry up, before someone skateboards by and gives you the finger.
AllMusic Review by David Jeffries
Track Listing - Disc 1
feat: Casey Royer