Mouse Gone Wild

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If Eek-A-Mouse still conjures up a vision of a six-foot Jamaican in a mouse costume squeaking in infectious and anthemic gibberish, then Mouse Gone Wild will come as a shock. The rodent scampered off the scene many years ago, and has apparently been living large in Bel Air ever since, as he explains on "American Dream." He is out of sight and out of his mind, or so he seems on the disturbing "Schizophrenic," a maniac who joins "Hannibal the Cannibal" at the dinner table.

However, Eek is a mouse with rich tastes, an "Uptown Dread" with wads of cash, enthralled by the sexy "American Girl" who knows how to "Wine" on the dancefloor. And he knows how to wine and dine the rich and famous, chatting up every "Diva" in the land, coming to the defense of Martha Stewart and even attempts to entice Hillary Clinton into his mouse hole on one of the most amusing numbers on the set. By the time Eek sends out the booty call of "Pussy and the Mouse," the faint of heart will be grabbing a broom to swat this seductive ball of fur back into his box.

But Eek wasn't born in a gilded cage, and he well remembers how hard life was in the "Ghetto." His anger at the injustices and violence visited upon its denizens and himself remains raw, as he snaps out a list of casualties, all of whom he scathingly lays at the door of the police. The lyrics of "Ghetto" provide the background for the set opener "Police Chase" while also acting as the backdrop for "Lick Shot," where the gun-toting mouse revisits his past, and as the magnums ring out, Kingston's ghettos dissolve into ghost towns.

The death and despair found there are just one of the bonds that tie yardie life to hip-hop culture, and why everyone now wants to talk "Jamaicanese." Within, Eek name checks the current crop of rappers jumping on the bashment bandwagon, then teaches hip-hop a history lesson about the true originators. Seething rhythms and moody atmospheres wash across the set, all laid down by Ayoola Daramola, who provides the perfect backing for the newly revitalized Eek, with Tricky offering up two fabulous remixes. The Wild Mouse is not the cuddly rodent of old, but a smart, world-wise mouse still entertaining, still amusing, but with salient opinions on contemporary climes and times to the fore. A dramatic return, and a much welcomed one.

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