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by
3 November, 2002@12:00 am
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Back in ’98, Krumb Snatcha snagged The Source magazine’s hip-hop quotable for his appearance on Gang Starr’s “Make ‘Em Pay.” His memorable verse included these lines: “Somethin’ ain’t right/to be an MC you gotta thug/Or to thug you gotta be an MC/this shit is bugged.”

Listening to Krumb Snatcha’s second full length, Respect All Fear None, the thinking man’s reality rhymer has a rough time choosing sides. In his latest, he spews lyrics endorsing thug life and attempting to enlighten. It’s an odd paring, but for a man who did a bid in a Massachusetts state pen for kidnapping and attempted murder, there must be a grip of conflicted feelings to contend with.

Early on, Krumb provides what he calls a “thug thesis” on “What’s Life”. Talking glocks and Hearses might be tired, but Krumb ventures deeper than your average ruffian. The track’s hot keyboard squelches are from vet Easy Moe Bee and a complex chorus ponders street life. “What’s life?/Livin’ with guns aimed at your head/We already dead/lyin’ on death beds for meds.” His guise might be overly gangsta, but his reflective verses encourage (gasp!) critical thinking.

As Krumb’s a Gang Starr foundation member, Guru and DJ Premier guest on the aptly titled “Incredible”. Just as Premier did for Krumb earlier in his career with “Closer To God”, his signature scratching generates another standout. Though the record boasts production from Da Beatminerz, Alchemist, and Nottz, D&D Records  labelmate Curt Cazal submits the most affecting sounds on “Prison Life”. Here, Krumb’s in an audible comfort zone over the ominous track where hollering isn’t necessary and the subject matter of daily life in the big house couldn’t be more personal. Talk of cracking gates, block brawling and shady shanks make the descriptive, first person account of jail time a wax based equivalent to HBO’s addictively gruesome OZ.

“House Party” explains how Krumb stays away from home based celebrations due to inevitable beefs, while “Rich Man Poor Man” eloquently delves into class struggles. “Is there God for the ghetto?” Krumb asks on the cut. “Or we just slaves of the devil in iced out religious medals?”

Despite the thoughtful tunes, “Oxygen” feat. BoogieMan is a second-rate stab at club play with a synth blips from an under performing Nottz. Also disappointing is Guru dousing Krumb with excessive praise on “Words From The General” and Krumb’s faux interview on “D&D Radio”. Both tracks are filled with superfluous blabbering about Krumb, attempting to bring additional cred to his rep. Fortunately for listeners, his heady street speak packs more cred into one verse than most criminals on wax earn in an album’s worth of thug talk.

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