Suga Free

New Testament [DVD/CD]

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On the unapologetically titled "He's Pimpin, She's Hoein," Suga Free observes "Midwest, East Coast, Dirty South and the West gonna bounce to this" and that pretty well sums up Suga Free's wide-ranging appeal; despite traveling fairly standard gangsta-pimp lyrical territory, the West Coast rapper is anything but monochromatic. On the opening song of his second album THE NEW TESTAMENT, he smoothly shifts styles about five times as he unleashes a torrent of pent-up anger. Who can blame him for being a bit backed up? It's been nearly six years since Suga Free's first record, the critically acclaimed STREET GOSPEL, and aside from occasional guest shots he's been fairly quiet.

Nonetheless, he's back in full force with THE NEW TESTAMENT. Able producer DJ Quik's beats, recalling a post-disco/rise-of-hip-hop heyday of smooth, understated funk, accentuate the rapper's easy, acrobatic flow. Morris Day of the Time even drops by on the slick "She Get What She Paid For." On the next track, platinum-selling superstar Chingy adds a guest vocal, yet one has to scour the liner notes to find any evidence of his presence, a telling sign of a lyrically potent rapper who doesn't feel the need to stand on guest performances. Suga Free's hardcore rhyming on THE NEW TESTAMENT is eminently capable of standing on its own.

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