Awesome Dre' & Hard Core Committee

You Can't Hold Me Back

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The Midwest is the one region of the U.S. that -- unlike the Northeast, South and West Coast -- hasn't had a lot of well-known rappers. One hardcore rapper who created a buzz on Detroit's rap scene of the late 1980s was Awesome Dre', who showed some potential on his debut album, You Can't Hold Me Back. This CD is a bit uneven, and at times, Dre' sounds like he's being inflammatory just to get a reaction. For example, he rails against fellow rappers L.L. Cool J and Kool Moe Dee without really articulating what he has against them. But the Motor City native does have an appealing flow and a lot of spirit, and he uses his gut-level emotion advantageously on riveting cuts like "Frankly Speaking" (which decries censorship), "Committing Rhymes" and "Sackchasers," a denunciation of materialistic women. "Sackchasers" isn't misogynist, as some claimed, but it does put golddiggers in their place. Dre' comes across as someone who has the guts to be himself -- instead of emulating East or West Coast rap styles, Dre' makes it clear that he's quite happy to represent Detroit. Nationally, however, he didn't receive much attention.

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