Various Artists

Lyricist Lounge: Dirty States of America

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When it comes to being an overview, the soundtrack to Lyricist Lounge's Dirty States of America comes up short compared to the DVD, but that doesn't mean it's wack. While the DVD covers everything from Florida booty to cough syrup-sippin' screwed and chopped music, the CD focuses on the middle of the Southern rap spectrum. There's the usual thumping bass, sparse production, grinding guitars, and raps with gruff growls, slack-jawed slang, and plenty of Southern pride. Past B.G., David Banner, and E.S.G., this is the B-list of Southern rappers, not a comment on their talent but an indication that this is Southern rap in its purist form. Tracks come right out of bedroom studios with all the local slang and no major label marginalizing. Partners-N-Crime update their party anthem "N.O. Block Party" with help from Choppa, David Banner and Bun B rock out on "Hold Up," and JT Money gives the listener a vivid picture of his slow, Southern day-to-day while throwing some respect the Last Poets way on "Why Cross 'Em." Raps from Al Kapone, E.S.G., and Fiend (teamed here with B.G. and the late Soulja Slim) round out the highlights, but appearances from Devin the Dude and Collard Greens are almost as good. That's a lot of great music but there's some tired filler, and being associated with an A (maybe A+) documentary that only a sprawling box set could equal in scope colors the opinion a bit. Don't think of this as the DVD's counterpart and you've got a good intro to Southern rap's street-level cheap thrills.

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