Shoot to Kill

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Back in 1989, Ice-T described hip-hop, punk, and metal as a "trilogy of rebellion" -- and Ice definitely knew what he was talking about because a long list of artists has been influenced by all three (including Ice himself). The Beastie Boys, let's not forget, were a punk band before they became a hip-hop trio, and they were influenced by metal as well during their early years. So given how long the fusion of hip-hop, punk, and metal has been taking place, it makes perfect sense that West Coast vocalist Brad Xavier, aka Daddy X or Brad X (of Kottonmouth Kings and Humble Gods fame), would want to start a punk band with his ally the Dirtball. That punk band is the X-Pistols, whose debut album, Shoot to Kill, doesn't sound anything like the Kottonmouth Kings but shares their rebellious, in-your-face outlook. Quite often, this early 2011 release sounds like a West Coast punk recording from the late '70s or early '80s; at least that is what happens some of the time. Shoot to Kill is full of songs that would have worked for the Circle Jerks or Black Flag around 1979 or 1980, but that isn't the case on all of the material. Some of the other tracks have more of a hip-hop influence, including "Lock Load Fight Win," "I Hate Pigs," "Love and Tragedy," and "Trapped in a Maze." And Shoot to Kill has its metallic moments as well -- not metallic in the harsh, vicious, unforgiving way that so much death metal, black metal, and metalcore are metallic, but metallic nonetheless. So even though Shoot to Kill is a punk album first and foremost, there is enough hip-hop influence and enough metal influence to make it relevant to the "trilogy of rebellion" that Ice-T spoke of back in 1989. Shoot to Kill doesn't point that trilogy in any new directions, but even so, this is a fun and often infectious (albeit highly derivative) listen from Daddy X and his colleagues.

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