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2 November, 2004@12:00 am

      Horse races, the Super Bowl, and life – always bet on the longshot to make the most off a relatively small bet. And in Chicago rapper Longshot, the legendary Molemen crew of Chicago hopes that they have a winning ticket to claim as their own. “I ain’t gonna live up to my name,” Longshot raps on the “Intro” to his sophomore attempt “Sacrifice,” a quote that he adequately covers throughout the remainder of the disc. Slicing through a variety of sampled-up efforts from Panik of the Molemen, the “longshot” of Chicago spits an equally varied number of street tales, sounding both vocally and temperamentally like a young Styles P (of The LOX fame).

     Though Longshot rarely strays far from his street formula and relies heavily upon his own true-to-life experiences, the tenacity and hunger that the boy spits with cannot be denied on tracks like “Sacrifice,” his ode to the many sacrifices that he has made during his life, or the more heartfelt “World.” (“World, don’t you cry for me, I’m gonna make it, so you proud of me.”) Other tracks are purely the art of producer plus emcee, as Panik provides the samples on “Much Better” and the more energized “Never Go Slow,” with Longshot subsequently manipulating the samples and interpolating them within the bars of his own rhymes. The custom-made production by Panik and the Molemen for Longshot becomes quite clear, as the crew not only patterns a specific sound for the youngster, but also puts quite an effort into a “longshot” in the hopes that the dividends will pay off.”

     Longshot’s best attempts, however, shine through the many messages that he delivers rather than depending upon the solid Molemen production. “Never Leave” praises the female that stayed by his side through the duration, while “Hold No Grudge” airs out the past of Longshot as he proclaims the many times he has been “spit on, shit on, had friends turn on me.” Even the interactive and questioning “How You Feel” will grab listeners and pull them Longshot’s hard-knock world with a series of “how you feel when….?” reflections. But no better evidence of Longshot’s abilities are present more than on “Please God,” an introspective slew of “I wonders,” where Longshot wonders how his past life and crimes will reflect upon his future. Though many of his other tracks contain personal tales, none open Longshot up as wide as “Please God,” as he does just about everything but confess to the priest.

       While many other street-tale rappers have told or attempted to tell the same type of tales as Longshot, few do it with the authenticity or drive that Longshot accomplishes with a healthy dosage of Panik and the help of the Molemen. The Chicagoan’s growth on the microphone will, no doubt, be questioned on future albums, where better topics and arrangement will become the key to his success. But for now, the Molemen have their eye on the prize – and taking their chances on a longshot proves to be a successful “Sacrifice.”

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