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by Craig Smith
8 April, 2003@12:00 am
0 comments

If Killer Mike were an NBA baller, he’d be a merciless roughneck on the glass, nabbing orange spheres from the sky and throwing elbows aplenty to keep defenders at bay. Handling his tunes in the same relentless fashion, his aggro flows coupled with thrashing, rock inspired production creates a rip-roaring debut.

“I’m the monster/I’m your sick and twisted monster,” he belts in the aptly titled “Monster”. Calling himself as a “carjacker” and “murder fanatic,” Mike makes it known that his raps are geared toward the alienated and disenfranchised. However, these tracks are wide ranging and the potential audience for a banger like “Akshon (Yeah!)” is massive. The cut’s hypnotic
beatwork from Andre 3000 of Outkast is bolstered by a distorted bassline eruption–similar to the sound a decade old boom box makes when encountering low notes it just can’t handle.

The record’s finest moment arrives on “Rap Is Dead”. “Too many niggas still ride Big & Pac?s dick,” he grumbles on the track. Loads of rapid-fire snares and swift turntable work form a tight combo and Mike won’t inspire folks to ponder either deceased rhymer when his charismatic wordplay busts through the speakers. He goes on to lament Dead Prez’s low record sales and calls himself a new school Ice Cube in the tune. Don’t like what Mike is talking about? “Make a record!” he yelps.

Though much of this record is mosh pit friendly - putting Mike in an enviable position of snagging some lucrative concert dates with rap-rockers down the road – the radio friendly “A.D.I.D.A.S. (All Day I Dream About Sex)” proves a welcome sign that spring has sprung and is the most fun loving FM joint heard thus far in 2003. The tune praises the fine act of getting some with Big Boi of Outkast lending vocals to the first verse. For the record, if those within earshot want to tie the knot with Killer Mike, he busts this out, “We can jump each other’s bones, but there’s no jumping brooms.”

Though there’s too much filler in the later cuts–like a messily produced song about his concert gigs (“L.I.V.E.”) and “Blow (Get Down)” a trumpet filled ode to head giving– Mike’s debut is a potent dose of well crafted combative rap tracks. With Outkast repping for this rap rookie, Monster might not be just a solid record, but our first full-length glimpse of a potential hip-hop luminary.

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