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Dallas Best Kept Top Secret Various Artists (Dallas) After an intro skit with a couple dudes buying some popcorn—and I don’t mean the kind you eat—the disc kicks off with Big Rule’s “Already No,” a D-Town-reppin’ club banger. Rule has plenty of funny lines, like “Big Rule burning the local chat / He like his ass like his Swishers and he’s smoking ‘em fat.” The whole album is full of the candy-paint baller braggadocio that’s all but required from Texas rappers, but it’s not relentlessly materialistic. Tubbsta and Big Rule’s “Lean Muzic” glorifies that purple stuff over a hypnotic slow beat, but also cautions against the drug’s downside—you might wake up with a stained throwback. “My nigga’s a barre baby, he loves to smoke pop / Almost flipped his ride over and he didn’t spill a drop.” This comp will make a fine addition to your Dirty South rap collection. Pick up a copy if you can find it. I made it to: The end.
Waves and the Both of Us Charlotte Sometimes (New York City) Lilith Fair-ready folk with slick, overproduced, inoffensive background music. Her overdramatic singing—going from an irritating croak to an ear-splitting wail—makes it almost unbearable. This schlock is on the Warped Tour? How low can Vans go? I made it to: A few seconds into Track 2, “How I Could Just Kill a Man,” just long enough to figure out that it wasn’t a Cypress Hill cover.
Time of the Broken Heart Back Porch Mary (Austin) Countrified Southern Rock. The first track, “This Band,” kicks off with cowbell and crunchy guitars, which give way for a twangy chorus about how he can’t get chicks or make his mama happy “’cause all I got’s this band.” I made it to: Midway through Track 2, the moment I heard the line “and we rolled down that highway.”
From First to Last From First to Last (Orlando, Florida) The first track, “Two As One,” opens with a mean, hog-squealing riff and shouted pop-punky vocals. The guitar tone is processed to death, like it’s been run through thousands of dollars worth of filters and digital effects--perfect for the big radio-friendly choruses. After bleeping a few curse words, Clear Channel should find nothing threatening about this generic mall rock. I made it to: Track 3. --Jesse Hughey