Da REAList is not Plies' meditation on Platonic realism; it's mostly just demonstrably false braggadocio and sentimental hooey. (He could have eliminated this confusion by calling it Da REALest.)

The main problem is that a July Hip Hop DX report showed that, despite his claims to be a lifelong thug, he's actually only been arrested twice—fairly recently too—and only for misdemeanors. (He also studied sociology for a time at the University of South Florida.)

Even when he shows his softer side, it's tough to swallow: On "Family Straight," for example, he speaks of an aunt with AIDS, his father's struggle with drugs and his cousin's underage pregnancy. "I'm tired of answering my phone and hearing bad news," he raps. Easily the album's most compelling track, it almost feels real. But one can't help but doubt its veracity. Though the twinkling, snap-music-influenced beats are sometimes appealing, it's hard to get past Da REAList's absurd story lines.

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Ben Westhoff
Contact: Ben Westhoff

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