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10 May, 2006@12:00 am

    Planet Asia is back with a sickness. With a solid flow and more than five years of success under his belt, it would be assumed that he would have put together a real banger, opposed to an album that could easily get played out in three to four spins.  The Sickness Part 1, appears to have a lot of potential with P.A.’s rapid fire lyrics on tracks like, “Time after Time,” “U Betta,” or “Moonlight Melodic Part 2.” The thought is all there, unfortunately, like most stoners, the motivation really isn’t. It’s a wonder if the majority of the tracks were actually written or cut and pasted from a reel of “Best Of” freestyle moments.

    Real hip-hop fans know that interludes can make or break an album. They can either be well mixed, leading into the next track, or down right annoying. Like a rollercoaster relationship, P.A. follows these emotions to a “T,” by lacing every other track with his marijuana endued manifestos.
On, “Boo Boo Weed,” he claims that that fans rep their bud as the best, but everyone knows that the homegrown “Kind” of Humboldt County is unlike anything else of this world. Maybe if P.A. would have focused more on making longer tracks and not as many interludes, the album wouldn’t have been as short as a Dutch Master in a seven person cypher. By the time the album reaches its mid-point and the track, “Knowledge,” rolls around, the listener maybe so annoyed with the interludes, they will skip right over P.A. ranting about, rap cats of today not speaking about anything except, hand to hand transactions and big booty women. It’s funny because that’s the album’s bread and butter. The only interlude worth listening to is “Fe La’s Time.” The horn filled jazz session is oddly placed, but draws the ear to the speakers. It leaves the listener asking, “What the fuck? This is brilliant! What is this?” Unfortunately, it ends just as fast as it starts, sliding into the generically Jamaican rhythemed, “Murder Time.”

    With all criticism aside, Asia does bring about valid points, with his militant overtones on “Gangsta, Gangsta.” The track is a history lesson about the hardest people through out African-American history and “guess what?” None of them are your favorite rappers! Names like Fela Kuti, Malcolm X, Nat Turner and Sonny Carson, to name a few of the many that make the list. He insightfully ends the track with the quote, “They call you a gangsta when you fight for your people.” If P.A. had been really thinking in the post production, he would have used the powerful track at the end, opposed to letting it get lost halfway in the blunt smoke.

     Although Planet Asia maybe a household name in the underground hip-hop scene, the question of “Why hasn’t he crossed over into the mainstream?” hangs over head like a black cloud. The majority of his actual tracks have commercial appeal, with their slam chanting choruses and Casio Keyboard sounding loops. The album is a disappointment for someone who has had such longevity in hip-hop music. Maybe if Planet Asia would cut back a bit on the green, he could have become productive enough to put together a tighter album. Let’s hope that his follow-ups, The Diagnosis and The Medicine, are drastically better.

  Mixtape D.L.
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