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by D.T. Swinga
1 January, 2002@12:00 am
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       Conjuring up images of Common holding a mug asking “Can I Borrow A Dollar”, or Eazy E dancing with a piece of cardboard in the “Dre Day” video, the Cunninlynguists debut album Will Rap For Food instead follows a different philosophy – if rappers make “jiggy shit” because they “gotta eat”, then why not rap for food? Let’s face it, like the bums that hit you up everyday on your way to work, these commercial artists don t do it for the food, they do it for the paper.

     Poking fun at the rap industry, the CunninLynguists do it in style, with humorous punch rhymes found throughout the album, most effective on tracks like “Fukinwichu” and the lampooning “Thugged Out Since Cub Scouts”. While neither Deacon nor Kno are that incredible lyrically, you can’t help but enjoy their antics when Kno’s production is at it’s best, as evidenced on their introduction “Lynguistics”. After all, while their styles do seem a bit dated in comparison to some of the other emcees found on a song like “616 Rewind” for instance, it seems intentional as they throwback to the call & response style of Leaders Of The New School, found on the Celph Titled produced “So Live!” . But it’s not all fun and games for the black and white duo, as songs like “Mic Like A Memory” and the DJ Shadow-esque “Not Guilty” are a bit more somber, and “Missing Children” explores personal stories of parental neglect.

     Listening to their debut album, it’s hard to tell if the CunninLynguists will be still rapping for food in five years, or joining the ranks of artists like Anotha Level, Ya’ll So Stupid, Boogiemonsters, and others with similar light-hearted styles that disappeared without a trace over the years.  Either way, while this isn t the most impressive debut we ve heard from rap’s indy circles, it’s still a fun hip-hop project, and having fun seems to be their ambition anyway.

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