Webstar Presents: Caught in the Web

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Bringing back that old-school feeling when pee wee dancin' and doin' da butt were all the rage, producer/MC Webstar had a big 2006 hit with the sparse, simple, and silly "Chicken Noodle Soup." The homegrown track is teenage Harlem at its freshest, and it didn't take long for everyone to be feeling the vibe. The track's progression from white label to thousands of homegrown YouTube videos posted -- featuring everyone from Harlem kids to big business men wilding out to the track's unofficial dance -- was Internet-age fast, so a full-length landing right as critical mass is approaching is suspect. Caught in the Web sounds a bit rushed and a little unfinished, but Webstar is a talented, club-minded producer with a bag full of hooks and a charismatic upstart attitude. Complementing his youthful swagger is the bratty and bubbly Young B., a chirpy-voiced singer/MC who doesn't like "chicken head girls looking at her dizzy" or people who wear "last year's Vuitton." She's the voice behind "Chicken Noodle Soup," the great "In My Video," and all the other party tracks here, and there are plenty. Smart bedroom production that's just slick enough keeps things moving and as redundant as things get, nostalgic touches -- like when "Like This" borrows from Grandmaster Flash's "White Lines" -- bring welcome reminders of when hip-hop albums didn't have to be so heavy. Throwing everything off track are a couple less-inspired hardcore tracks that are filler and blunted by heavy editing (strange that the cuss words have obviously been removed, but there's no "parental advisory" version of the album available). It's not surprising that an album spawned from something so fabulously frivolous would require a finger on the skip button, but what is surprising is how little that button needs to be pushed. Caught in the Web is for the most part a sneaker-squeaking good time.

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