The young folks might not believe it, but there was a time when Lil’ Romeo was not the most famous member of the Miller family. About a decade ago, C-Murder and his brother Master P were at the forefront of the South’s explosion as a hip-hop powerhouse, but the last few years have not been kind to C-Murder and his kin. They may still have a loyal fan-base in their native New Orleans, but on a national level they’ve largely become only answers to trivia questions: quick, which rapper “made em say uuuhhhh!!!” Fast, name …
DJBooth Album Review
Oh, and there is the small matter of that murder charge. First of all, I don’t think anyone who’s name is literally “Murder” should be surprised when they’re arrested for homicide, but unfortunate name choices aside, in some ways C-Murders arrest, conviction, release and impending re-trial have revived his once sputtering career. His last album, The Tru Story, sold less than 4,000 copies (no, I didn’t forget any zeroes), but now he’s channeled his anger into much more compelling, and aptly-titled, Screamin’ 4 Vengeance. On Vengeance, Murder (as I’ll be calling him from now on), has assembled a line-up of dope beats, decent rhymes, and only occasionally regrettable guest features. In other words, it’s the best album he’s done in a long time.
Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but Murder makes sure it’s never soft. Vengeance is a relentlessly hard album, and Murder takes every opportunity to insist he’s still a force on the streets. Take Posted on the Block, one of the album’s best tracks due to a perfect storm of Southern style; the slowly pounding beat is underscored by riding synths while Krayzie Bone and Papoose lend some lyrical complexity to the track. I’m not exactly impressed by Murder’s mic skills, but I have to give the man his due on Posted on the Block; he kicks his usually slow flow up a notch in a respectable attempt at mirroring the classic Bone Thugs’ spitfire style. (On a side note, Mia X represents for the female MCs by killin’ all the boys). If Posted is your kind of track than you’ll be happy with Vengeance. From the body-blow power of I Represent to the posse track Beastmode, Vengeance hits again, and again, and again. Fans will call it consistency. Detractors will call it repetitive.
The day Murder can’t pump out asphalt-laced tracks is the day he should hang up his mic, the real surprise is that he produces a decent club song. Be Fresh is the type of track that more elitist critics would be slamming in public but feeling in private, but I can admit that I can’t help but nod my head when that echoing, swaggering beat comes on. Be Fresh’s got money attitude is an anomaly in the largely dope-boy-esque Vengeance, but Murder’s slower flow works perfectly here. The track definitely could have used a tight guest verse to push it over the edge (I would have put Papoose on this one instead of Posted), but the overall effect is still notable. Vengeance is going to move more than four grand in album sales, and Be Fresh is a big reason why.
In order to avoid being sucked into the terrible abyss of hater-dom I’ve tried to accentuate the positive, but I only got so much f**king positivity in me. There are some absolutely atrocious tracks on Vengeance, and if you know me, you know I’m not afraid to point out atrocity. Mihita (translation My Heater) features Murder trying his hand at a conceptual track by comparing his gun to a woman – conceptual is not his strong point. Even my considerable writing powers can barely describe how bad the hook is, but here it goes; my best guess is it was sung by the retarded Jackson brother they wouldn’t let into the Jackson 5. Murder doesn’t help things with lyrics like: “you gave me some nookie, I fingered you and you released your cookies.” There’s a fine line between loving your gun and some sort of strange gun fetish, and Murder’s definitely crossed it. I could go on, but in the end it’s easy: if you’ve ever thought, “man, I can’t wait until C-Murder makes an album with a track called Gangstafied Lyrics”, then all your hope and dreams have come true with Vengeance. And if you’re like me and have never had that thought, well then...
DJBooth Rating - 2.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 07/31/08
48 Tracks Entertainment/Tru Records
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Posted On The Block" (2006)
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