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12 May, 2003@12:00 am

So many underground hip hop artists fall into the cliche category, whether they just follow the flavor of the moment-or just follow the hip hop status quo album formula.  The Justus League crew out of North Carolina, who have virtually exploded onto the scene with the help of Little Brother’s The Listening, are trying to prove they’re talented enough in their own right to warrant a serious look—mission accomplished!

Cesar Comanche, the other notable name (but not for long) out of the J.L. crew serves us his sophomore album; chock full of 9th Wonder production, Paper Gods, certainly avoids the sophomore slump.  Whereas it’s difficult to call this an album full of creative hooks, rhyme schemes and content – it’s surprisingly very catchy and fails to lose your attention after repeated “listens”.  While the album is fairly top heavy, the posse cut towards the end, “Daily Operation”, is a perfect way to close Comanche’s sophomore release.

Oddly enough, the most enjoyable track isn’t even a 9th Wonder beat, “Pest” blessed by Big Dho, gives you a banging battle record over a very familiar loop.  Also, with “Knowing is Half the Battle”, (a 9th Wonder classic), Comanche divulges his own rendition of Hip Hop’s Commandment’s type, except with an intensely sarcastic tone.  

Though Paper Gods falls into the independent cliche category with the reappearances of the radio station interlude, which we’ve all heard a million times before.  Granted it isn’t too blatant or annoying, it is however, still there.  The album begins to head down the road of mediocrity as the second half of the disc begins, separated by yet another radio interlude.  However the aforementioned posse cut (“Daily Operation”) saves the day with “L.E.G.A.C.Y”, Cesar, and Sean Boog each ripping a different beat.

Cesar Comanche’s albums won’t be confused with the incredible buzz surrounding the Little Brother debut, but his material will stand out enough to garner positive attention.  The Justus League crew is really onto something in the Carolina’s, and the sky’s the limit in 2003.

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