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The recent success of Adult Swim’s late night programming has allowed the bad boys of Cartoon Network to expand their influence in the entertainment industry, including a foray into the music biz with the launch of Williams Street Records. Their first project, Dangerdoom, was extremely successful, although it’s concept was almost fail-proof. (Two semi-fictional and very talented musicians making forward-thinking rap music about the Adult Swim programming line up.)

Their latest release, The Diary of an American Witch Doctor, falls short of the quality fans have come to expect from the animated indie trendsetters at Williams Street. With their headquarters in downtown Atlanta, Williams Street kept it local with this release, plucking Witchdoctor from the depths of the Dungeon Family collective, which is based in the ATL.

Known for their progressive vision, perhaps Williams Street’s biggest misstep was attempting to push a record from such a conservative southern rapper like Witchdoctor. Following compilations from hip hop innovators like Stones Throw and Def Jux, Witchdoctor’s dated style is an awkward step in the wrong direction. Modern southern rap superstars pride themselves on smooth, rhythmic flows (i.e. Big Boi, T.I.) and made-for-ring-tone productions. Witchdoctor offers neither of these attributes, and it’s not because he’s trying to reinvent the sound of the South, he’s trapped in the style of five years’ past.

There are numerous references to God on this record, including two interludes, “God Iz Good” and “Wonderful God”. Witchdoctor’s intentions are unclear with his inclusion of religious references, especially because his lines about God are usually followed by a line about murdering someone. Such conflicting messages are sure to repel the Christian fan base he might have been trying to reach. For example, on the track “Suicide Bomber” Witchdoctor raps, ‘No bodyguards, no body armor, keep angels close and surrounded by your karma/ Get up under God’s desert shield, nothing wicked can harm ya/ I came to inform ya” Sounds like a nice message to his fans to embrace God and surround yourself with good karma, right? Well ten seconds later Witchdoctor says, ‘I hook my enemies with my pistol in their six-pack”

Can I get a “What the fuck” from the congregation?

Numerous guest spots from unknown southern gangster emcees contribute to the lack of quality on The Diary…Worst of all, Witchdoctor’s latest doesn’t even have a club-tailored single to fall back on. The entire record is consistent, but the quality is sub par. The result? A consistently bad (meaning bad, not bad meaning good) record that fails to find its voice.

If two of your hobbies include praying and killing, you need help. But at least you can listen to this new Witchdoctor album on your way to therapy. – Chris Seeger

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