The Southwest Connection

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Named after the budget airline the members flew repeatedly from their respective homes in Nashville (Haystak and Lexx Luger) and Oakland (Dutch the Great), The Southwest Connection is a cross-country blend of Dirty South boasting and inventive Bay Area hardcore production. The three rapper/producers are all members of the loosely-defined CWB (as in Crazy White Boys) posse, alongside the better-known Bubba Sparxxx, but this is the first album the trio have released under their own name after several years' worth of guest verses and mixtape appearances. Unsurprisingly, the trio work well together, with each member contributing roughly equally: Lexx Luger is the lead rapper and natural frontman, while Haystak and Dutch the Great focus primarily on the beats and arrangements. The primary problem is that The Southwest Connection is well-executed but rather boring mainstream gangsta rap, featuring catchy beats and tricky rhymes but lyrically dull and overly familiar topics that don't engage the listener on any level other than the most shallow, head-nodding vibe. The Southwest Connection sounds better the less you actively pay attention to it.

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