A little under a decade ago, an emcee by the name of Canibus burst onto the scene and floored people everywhere with his ridiculous punchlines and clever wordplay. As the hype reached an implausible high, courtesy of his stage stealing guest spots, Canibus promptly dropped the inexcusable dud Can-I-Bus. The album was shitted on by fans and critics everywhere. Most of the blame didn’t fall on Bis’ shoulders, but many chose to use Wyclef as the scapegoat for the album’s lame production. In the meantime, Bis was in a heated battle with LL Cool J (of which the debate still rages on about who bested who) and after a tirade of barbs, he was never the same emcee again (for better or worse). Even though he did come back with 2000 BC, he followed with C True Hollywood Stories, which placed him right on the verge of him “dripping of wack juice” again. The ebb and flow of his releases left fans (such as this critic) puzzled as to what Canibus would we get next. So after a few more albums, Canibus enlisted in the army and disappeared. 20 long months of active duty later, Bis returns with Mind Control and hopes to reclaim the glory he once had.
So which Canibus do we get with Mind Control? Well, from the outset we get Canibus’ version of Jay-Z’s “22 two’s” with “33 3′s” which, aside of the subpar production isn’t terrible but kids, the worst has yet to come. Canibus has suffered for years from being an emcee who is about as good as a guest appearance on somebody else’s album. For some reason his material has never translated well into full songs and Mind Control is no different than any of his previous attempts – yet this is far, far worse than Mic Club or 2000 BC. Bis at times still showcases the rhyme animal mentality that we came to love (yet turned down a few notches) but still makes extremely corny songs. The irritating hook of “Last Laugh” is one case in point where the lyrics aren’t bad but the production and terrible hook make it damn near unlistenable. Another moment is “Mind Control” where Bis’ lyrics are drowned out by the super sappy production complete with singers that just don’t belong.
While the production for the most part is less than spectacular, one song in particular will make listeners tilt their head to the side and exclaim “What the Fuck?” “Atlanta” features Bis donning a dirty south style and gives the album a crunk moment that seriously doesn’t belong. Though it can be perceived as a parody, when the rest of your material is less than average a song like this should not even have a chance to make the final cut.
As tremendously disappointing as Mind Control is, many Canibus believers have come to know that you never know what you are going to get from the emcee who took punchlines to the next level years ago. While we continue to keep the faith (how diminutive it has become over the years) it has to really be a drag to know that Canibus can be a really dope emcee, just as long as he stays away from corny concepts and even worse production. So we have to continue to hope that one day hip-hop’s Da Vinci gets the proper tools to paint a beautiful picture, but until then he’ll continue to paint with crappy brushes against even crappier backdrops.
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