When David Alexander, aka the Dirtball, formed the X-Pistols with Brad Xavier, aka Daddy X or Brad X of Kottonmouth Kings fame, it was a stylistic departure for the Oregon rapper. The Dirtball's solo albums have been straight-up hip-hop, while the X-Pistols are pretty much a throwback to the West Coast punk of the late '70s and early '80s (albeit with some rap-rock influence at times). As a solo artist, the Dirtball doesn't sound like Black Flag, the Circle Jerks, or early T.S.O.L.; as co-leader of the X-Pistols, he does. But then, many punk fans are also hip-hop fans, so co-founding a punk band was a perfectly logical thing for the Dirtball to do. However, the Dirtball doesn't bring any X-Pistols influence to this March 2011 release, which is his first solo album to come out since the release of the X-Pistols' Shoot to Kill earlier in the year. Nervous System pretty much picks up where Mr. Alexander's pre-X-Pistols solo recordings left off; the Dirtball is still a West Coast rapper with a passion for Midwestern hip-hop (two of his most prominent influences are Michigan's Eminem and Chicago's Twista), and he still delivers his share of rapid-fire tongue-twister rhymes. While the Dirtball isn't quite as outrageously over the top as Eminem can be, he doesn't shy away from profanity or off-color lyrics -- and the anti-authority tone he favored on previous solo efforts is alive and well on edgy tracks such as "No Cops," "Move Back," "Bang Loud," and "Rule the World." The Dirtball laughs about the fact that he is a white rapper on "Cracka' Now," and he spends a lot of time rapping about substance abuse (be it alcohol on "Spill Zone" or psychedelic mushrooms on "Mushrooms"). Nervous System doesn't point the Dirtball in any new directions, but longtime followers will find it to be an entertaining listen from the Oregon MC.
(Digital Download - Caroline / United Family Music, Inc #)
Review by Alex Henderson