Big B

Good Times & Bad Advice

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There was a time when bearded, tattooed white guys who looked like they belonged in a biker bar didn't become rappers, but that was back when Ronald Reagan was president. Hip-hop has had so strong an impact on rock since then that the bearded, tattooed white rapper Bryan Mahoney, aka Big B, can easily function in both the hip-hop and alternative rock worlds. A West Coast-flavored hip-hop disc with rock and reggae elements, Good Times & Bad Advice is probably too rock-influenced to be played on urban radio stations that favor a "bangin' hip-hop and R&B" format. Big B's main audience, rather, consists of white and Latino kids who fancy Cypress Hill, the Kottonmouth Kings, Everlast, Ice-T, and Eminem and are also likely to have (hed) p.e. or Kid Rock on their iPods. Not all of B's work has been memorable, but Good Times & Bad Advice is among his more consistent outings. One could say that B is getting in touch with his inner Everlast on this 2010 release; Everlast's bluesiness is a prominent influence, and Everlast himself makes a guest appearance on the single "Before I Leave This Place." But Big B is his own man, finding a middle ground somewhere between Everlast's more serious-minded lyrics and the wild-times-in-Cali aesthetic of the Kottonmouth Kings. Big B delves into social commentary on "Before I Leave This Place" (which tackles subjects ranging from carjacking to prostitution to war), and his tone is quite introspective on "Music Saved My Life" and "Highs and Lows." But there are plenty of feel-good party tracks as well, including "Out Here in Cali," "Good Times" (not to be confused with the Chic song), "Just Me & You," and "Turn Up the Radio." Good Times & Bad Advice is unlikely to win over hip-hop purists, but those who like their hip-hop laced with large doses of rock should have no problem getting into this 52-minute CD.

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