Straight Out da Pot [Chopped and Screwed]

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The second Big Cat Records signee to go solo, Maceo debuted with Straight Out da Pot, an album similar to that of his labelmate predecessor, Gucci Mane, who had debuted months earlier with Trap House. The teenage rapper upholds an ideology common among mid-2000s Southern rappers -- to the point of cliché, perhaps -- namely a general emphasis on dealing cocaine as a means for financial gain (hence the album title, an allusion to crack cooking) and on marginalizing women as sexual objects. Granted, Maceo isn't as engaging as Young Jeezy, who rapped about similar topics yet did so in a wittier fashion and became enormously popular as a result. Still, Maceo is more engaging than the myriad other run-of-the-mill "trap or die" Southern rappers struggling for market share in 2005. To his benefit, he gets above-average beats from Fats and G-Fresh, who produce the bulk of Straight Out da Pot. Highlights include "Go Sit Down (Ho Sit Down)" (a manly ode to putting women in their place -- as Maceo would have it, that is), "Nextel Chirp" (a heedful song about the dos and don'ts of conversing about drug deals over the phone), and "Ladies and Gentlemen" (a party song). "On My Way" is another highlight, though its love-song intent seems out of place here among these generally loveless songs. Anyone who takes issue with the state of Southern rap circa 2005, with its prevailing emphasis on dealing coke as a respectful profession as well as objectifying women as sexual conquests, as rapped over crunk beats, will of course find little of interest here (with the exception of outrage, perhaps). But anyone who finds appeal in Young Jeezy and company, or simply is at peace with the reality of this music as a medium of cultural expression for some urban youths, will find this debut by Maceo to be one of the more notable such releases in 2005. [Big Cat released a chopped-and-screwed edition, which had become par for the course among Southern rap releases by the mid-2000s.]