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1 January, 2003@12:00 am

 Andre The Giant has traveled a long and consistent path throughout his ten year career, first catching heads’ attention with “Soul Clap” in 1992. More recently, A.G. helped renew interest in himself, with the release of ’98′s Full Scale EP, with his production partner Showbiz. With “The Dirty Version”, A.G. asks Show to step aside, to try on some other producers’ tracks for size.

Unfortunately, while the idea sounds good on paper, there is one major flaw with this project that pierces it’s heart - that being the curse of letting the cats that hang with you, rhyme with you. This album may be billed as a solo project, but would have been better classified as the debut LP from the Ghetto Dwellaz. Party Arty and D-Flow make appearances on virtually every track, and on top of that, even lesser known (and lesser tolerable) emcees also take up A.G.’s mic time. At an exhausting 17 tracks in length, putting up with these emcees isn’t exactly easy, especially when you had your heart set on hearing Andre rip through them by himself, with minimal guest appearances.

Nevertheless, the project begins a good note, with the first few tracks, each displaying the Giant’s never-ending flow, filled with quick-witted attitude, and a patented delivery that he can only call his own. The Lord Finesse produced “Muddslide”, is a street soundtrack that fits A.G. and Co. perfectly. “Seen It All” features A.G. breaking down his life experiences over a Buckwild banger, with well-thought out lines like “Another issue I gotta touch on / I seen the president blow trees and get his fuck-on”. “Underground Life” is another fat Lord Finesse piece, which features Andre, Party Arty, D-Flow, and Fat Joe over a light piano, with a bassline that drops on the track like gravy. Also notable is “Lookin At Us”, simply executed by adding Guru & O.C. to this Primo track.

But, the fun ends there, when the mediocre production starts to set it, among a heavy guest list that should have been left uninvited. “Leave It Alone” is a sleepy track that should owe Rakim some royalties with its over extended hook, provided by Wali World. “No Where To Go” is poor for Diamond’s standard, featuring an unlistenable verse from Kool Chuck, that has to be heard to be believed. The embarrassment reaches its peak with “Ishims”, a Neptunes-ish track that tries to inspire dance, yet only summons anger. Sadly, this lengthy album is flooded with these types of mediocre songs, not to mention the tiring “Get Dirty” theme that is prevalent throughout.

Acting as saving graces are the better tracks that start the album off, plus old favorites like “Drop It Heavy”, with KRS-ONE and Big Pun. It’s songs like these that show Andre The Giant’s potential, and also prove that this project would have worked better if released as a tightly packaged, seven-song Ghetto Dwellas EP. It’s not necessarily the lack of Showbiz that brings this project down, but instead, the lack of quality control in general. Better luck next time.

  Mixtape D.L.
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