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12 September, 2007@3:25 am

Atlanta’s Pastor Troy found himself entrenched in controversy before his latest record even hit the shelves. The uproar was caused by his original title choice for his new album-Saddam Hussein. As soon as Universal announced the album title, numerous retail outlets promised they would not carry it, which caused the suits at Universal to demand he change the title. He did, and the album is now called Tool Muziq, although we much preferred the original name, as it better reflected the content of the record: dead.

This album fits nicely the ‘crunk’ genre of southern rap, which prides itself in repetitive, flagrant lyrics over hard charging club beats. Therein lies the problem with Pastor Troy’s new record: there isn’t a damn thing on here that we haven’t heard before. Troy speaks on tired topics like intoxication (“I’m Fucked Up”), and sex (“Wanting You”). In addition to played out subject matter, Troy’s rhyme skills barely exceed a 3rd grade level. Don’t expect any complicated word play on this record, Troy sticks to simple, one syllable rhymes like stunt/blunt and down/town.

The beats on Tool Muziq are similarly predictable, relying heavily on synths laid over pounding basslines and electronic drum sequencing. Forget playing these tracks through crummy laptop speakers, as their booming lows are more suited for the club or a whip with a decent system. The only true instrumental diversity comes on the track “No Money” which features a silky smooth West Coast-style beat via Ice Cube’s “You Know How We Do It”. Unfortunately, Troy’s raspy, intense vocals sound best over the duurty south-style rhythms.

Pastor Troy also cashes in on a hit from the 80′s with his rendition of Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money”. His version, “Hard for the Money”, features a similar hook: “She works hard for the money, so the gangsters treat her right”. The song is void of any sample sources from Ms. Summers’ original, opting for-you guessed it…synths and big basslines.

Fans of crunk music might find a handful of singles on Tool Muziq that are worth bumping in the whip, but those in search of innovative, content focused tunes should look elsewhere. – Chris Seeger

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