Pastor Troy

Tool Muziq

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There's no reason that Pastor Troy should sound hungry in 2007, since the rapper has released a string of mediocre to pretty good albums without a classic and without losing his fan base or cred. He could sleepwalk through most of Tool Muziq, and as long as there was a decent club track and a decent street track the units would move and profit would be achieved. One listen to his angry words and venomous delivery on "Saddam" -- which used to be called "Saddam Hussein" and was the planned title track till someone came to his senses -- and you can tell the man is trying harder than ever before. The gutter poignancy, the gruff delivery, and the wicked way Troy cuts down the competition with fast strings of snide comments have all been turned up to 11 with productions and choruses that hold their own. Shawty Redd and Drumma Boy are the big-name players in the production booth, but surprising ideas like sampling Mr. Mister's "Broken Wings" for the moving, lyrical highlight "Hey Mama" or twisting Donna Summer's slickest hit into the hectic street track "Hard for the Money" come from reinforcements like J. Troy and DJ Squeeky, respectively. Guests like Gangsta Boo, Fabo, and even Sammy Sam also bring it, but this gutsy, gritty album is owned by Troy. He isn't offering anything new as much as much as living up to expectations, often topping them, and trading filler for casual tracks that help link the ambitious burners into an album. While his hard, dirty, dirty Southern sound still isn't for everyone, hardcore fans of uncompromising grind music are rarely rewarded with albums so well built.

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