Street Politics

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Kawcajun is a trio of rappers that craft a unique sound that takes influence from some famous rappers without sounding like a direct imitation. Like most underground rap records, the weakest part is the production. The vocals are compressed and sound like they were recorded in a tin box, while the drum tracks and synth lines are flat and generic. This sinks more than a few songs, but unlike most underground rap records, these are not a bunch of rap fans imitating their heroes. Kawcajun can genuinely rap; their rhymes aren't forced or stilted and they don't indulge in blatant fantasies about their rich lifestyles or violent activities. They have the typical bravado of most young rap groups, but that almost comes with the genre at this point in its history. Unfortunately, the lackluster production makes it hard to tell the difference between songs. On top of that, their raps are similar enough that it blurs the line from song to song even more. But this is not true of the entire album, only on their weaker songs. The best track is "Downaroad," a Nelly-influenced rave-up that introduces the group and introduces their gimmick of using improper spelling to reflect on their Southern accents. "Sunup to Sundown" and "Handle Business" have some of the best production, which enhances their rapping greatly. Many of the tracks are competent without being that exceptional, and that works just fine for this album. But toward the second half there are some questionable tracks, especially the song "Kawcajun." A terrible chorus and flat production really bring it down, and it comes after a string of very average tracks. The next song, "Great White Hype," is very good and makes up some of the lost ground. But that is the yin and yang of Street Politics; at times it contains some very inspiring underground rap, while at other times it points out why even good rappers can't overcome bad presentation. It may be a mixed bag, but this is still some of the best hip-hop the indies have to offer in 2001.

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