Mad Dog American

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Gosh, you know how hard this band works to be threatening -- just look at the wild graffiti art on the cover, check the lyrics, note the speedy rock-rap mixture. But nothing makes them sound tough. Just about any rapper, vet or kid, can rap edgier and impersonate insanity more insanely than Sen Dog of the Cypress Hill triune, even with Eric Bobo and DJ Muggs joining him. And this is a downright likable garage rap-metal album for all that; any two tracks would've fit nicely on the Judgement Night soundtrack. Sen Dog and his Caucasian/Latino band rock as fast and loose as a good old SST act. As a bonus, they brought in ten musicians from what might as well be other garages in the 'hood to add a garage organ and garage gospel background vocals to the whatta-relief anthem "I'm Not Jesus," as well as garage Latin percussion to "Tequila" and a few other tunes. And wouldn't you know it -- this is part of Sen Dog's charm -- no matter how loud he raps, the twang in his voice takes the edge off even his sharpest ranting. The band sounds like a stripped-down, unambitious Rage Against the Machine -- and though this couldn't have been the intention, for better or worse, SX-10 is more enjoyable than most of the Cypress Hill you're likely to hear.

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