Young Roscoe Philaphornia

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Just 17 years old, Roscoe sounds both confident and comfortable on his major label, full-length debut, Young Roscoe Philaphornia. Of course, as the younger brother of Tha' Dogg Pound's Kurupt, the Philadelphia native boasts of both a fine rap pedigree and an early exposure to the music industry. Roscoe first visited his brother in California when he was ten and started rapping soon after that. It wasn't long before he was joining his brother on tour and in the studio, and Young Roscoe Philaphornia shows the influence of the West Coast sound quite readily. Practiced hitmakers Rico Wade and Organized Noize handled most of the album's slick, streamlined production, rendering innocuous party jams like "It's That Time Again" and "Get Ready," and there's definitely a by-the-numbers feel to the music. Occasionally, Roscoe's lyrics fall in suit, given over to excessive name-checking and uninspired braggadocio. For the most part, though, the young MC shows a savvy beyond his years. Roscoe is a serious lyricist, both eloquent and engaging, who offers sturdy, well-crafted flows. On the best tracks here, like the soul-/gospel-tinged "Bless the Child," he moves beyond the obvious influences of his famous friends and families. While there aren't nearly enough of those adventurous moments on Young Roscoe Philaphornia, Roscoe himself bears looking out for.

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