Bizzy Bone

The Midwest Cowboy

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AllMusic Review by

Maverick rapper Bizzy Bone's third release of 2006 -- and it's only July -- is yet another album that suggests the overly prolific man could up his chances if he slowed down and beefed up his quality control. At times, The Midwest Cowboy recalls 2004's very good Alpha and Omega, an album that included quite a bit of Bizzy's singing, and while it had plenty of the cryptic post-Bone lyrics that are now infamous, it didn't indulge to the point of disaster like some later albums. Also like Alpha and Omega, comprehendible bits of Bizzy's uneasy personal life shine through, extra enticing for hardcore fans and maybe just enough to sway the curious. Add to this some subtle hints that he misses Bone and would like to patch things up, and you've got what should be Bizzy's great return, but getting to these grand statements means slogging through eccentric filler and productions from an overworked Playalitical, who handles nearly everything in the background. Playalitical drowns the more difficult cuts in layers of Bizzy's vocals plus horns, harps, and what have you, but he's perfect for the cuts where the rapper decides to dip his toe back into the mainstream. The seductive "Lovey, Dovey," the swaggering "Around the World," and the old-school-feelin' "Wit a $20 Dolla Bill" are the best examples, and with the confessional "I Must Fess Up" added to them, you'd have one killer EP. Riveting in spots, The Midwest Cowboy is another frustrating Bizzy release, but it could have been a contender.

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