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14 July, 2003@12:00 am

Grand Agent embarks on another mission as preserver and defender of what he calls “Traditional Rap” on his follow up to By Design, Fish Outta Water. GA has taken his more focused approach overseas,where he has been since his debut, and recorded his second full length almost entirely in Germany. As GA puts it he’s trying to bridge the streets of US and the European Union together. His international approach, he believes, will put him ahead of the game but, Fish Out Of Water has a hard time keeping up with the game itself.

From the outset you understand that dude got skillz, as GA fans already know. As GA drops gem after gem on “The Jig Is Up” and proves to tear shit down lyrically on “Mingling Goes to Church”. Conceptually GA is concrete with the ode to the B-girl on I need a girl with lines hip hop heads will nod to, case in point: “I need a level headed/ but thorough breaded to bust a windmill and still heart attack a paramedic/… and… /She down wit speed racer, good times, welcome back kotter and C.H.iP.s/Mad vintage from her kicks to cornrows/know how all the 45 king horns go”. Joints like this are what makes you love hip hop and you simply gotta love the fact that GA loves hip hop just like you. There is no doubt GA takes his craft seriously and proves to not waste time and lines on “Release Party” where he will make many a head proud when he professes at the end that “This is my Religion.” He can even get on his soapbox once and a while as he reaches out to preach his gospel on who programmed us anyway?

But, problems lie within Fish Outta Water. Being ill lyrically is established but production and construction of the album is another story altogether. Grand Agent, as dope as he is, has a hard time making a SONG. Lyrics only do not a song make, it also has to employ a beat and a hook which come off novice. GA’s production team overseas (consisting of DJ Chestnut, Mr. Playmo, Droopy the Hit Machine and Hawkeye) give just enough of a backdrop to GA’s enticing verbals to keep you awake. Assistance from the states very own Chops (“What I Want”) and DJ Revolution (“Skillz Philly”) come off a tad better… but not by much. On top of this, dope joints like “I Need A Girl” and “No Rest” are bogged down by horrid hooks. Add this to way too much narrative in between songs and you have an album which at time is a blink away from putting it to rest, save GA’s skills lyrically.

Listeners who are out for a good lyrical stimulant need not to look further than this album. But this is not just a game of dope lyrics, if so, you need to look no further than your street corner to catch rap fiends demonstrating their abilities in heated freestyle sessions. Today’s game is making songs and music where Fish… is lacking. In the end GA’s second release proves the title true, Grand Agents vocals compared to his production are just that, a fish outta water.

  Mixtape D.L.
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