By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Multiple-choice time. Recently, the following words were uttered: "Ain't no way that SPM can be a human being." Who said them?
a. the prosecutor during SPM's molestation case
b. a disgusted juror on that same case
c. a pissed-off grandmother after hearing about the case on the news
d. none of the above
Believe it or not, the line belongs to South Park Mexican himself--it's on a track from Reveille Park. But SPM doesn't mean that he considers himself less than human. As he mentions practically ad nauseam on Park, he's no mere mortal MC--he's a primal force of nature, an inexplicable entity that can't be contained in flimsy human skin. And honey, he's gotta break free!
Park is distinctive from the Mexican's past releases because it's an all-freestyle album. The liner notes claim it was recorded "over the course of one wild ass weekend," and Park does have an impromptu, spur-of-the-moment feel, an Andy Hardy-goes-hustla rap vibe. While many of the rapper's Dope House soldiers (Juan Gotti, Low-G, Baby Beesh, Rasheed) guest, Park concentrates heavily on the Mexican and his powers.
Which--to hear the man himself tell it--are amazing. SPM proclaims himself the hustla of all hustlas, a man the cops, the feds and even sexually transmitted diseases couldn't hold down. He has a gat for every occasion and cash peeking through the floorboards of his crib. Since he is a rock-slanger extraordinaire, he informs the listener not once but twice that he has "more brown-bag specials than Sonic."
Hearing SPM go on about life in the bling-bling lane can be entertaining. His ballsy, tongue-in-cheek tenacity is what separates him from most local MCs. But apparently life in the bling-bling lane is all he has to talk about.
His most visible flaw as an MC is that he concentrates more on image than skills, and if anything, this album captures SPM's flair for overselling himself. Tracks like "The Beach House," "Woodson N Worthin" and "Dallas to Houston" have him sounding off his attributes--"I be the shit/In Spanish I'm la caca"--so incessantly that his self-promotion smacks of desperation. With all this empty braggadocio, Park seems like one long battle record aimed at no one and everyone. It's just a reminder to all rival MCs that if they want to throw down, he's ready.
You'd think with all the controversy surrounding him lately (SPM was sentenced to 45 years in prison and a $10,000 fine for molesting a 9-year-old girl), he would've used more of his album time to plead his case. Whenever Jay-Z and Snoop Dogg had free time from legal woes, they recorded "I'm innocent" tracks here and there. (SPM does briefly sample Snoop Dogg's "Murder Was the Case.") But alas, Reveille Park is not that kind of record. It's simply SPM chronicling his last spree, before he had to face the music.