Co$$

Before I Awoke

by David Maine

10 July 2011

 
cover art

Co$$

Before I Awoke

(Tres)
US: 21 Jun 2011
UK: 21 Jun 2011

LA-based Co$$ possesses a voice you’ll either love as “classic” or denigrate as “cliché”, depending on your point of view. Co$$ spits rhymes with smooth verve and immense confidence, punning on such topics as “Killafornia”, “when thugs cry”, Rain Man and Star Wars. The beats are simple enough, with plenty of snappy snare, but the underlying bed of sound leans heavily on R&B-style synths and vocals. The contrast between such radio-friendly sounds and Co$$‘s often double-time delivery creates an effective tension that keeps the tunes from sagging either sonically or thematically. (See also: the tinkling lounge piano running throughout “Spaceman”.)

At 19 tracks and 70-plus minutes, Co$$ certainly has time to take a few detours, and he isn’t afraid to do so. Generally, though, the production is smooth enough to make listening worthwhile. This isn’t to say that the lyricism is entirely flawless. Opening track “Risen” contains the priceless chorus, “From this I have risen from”. Shades of Spinal Tap’s “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight”—and if you don’t find anything wrong with that, Co$$ might be your new favorite emcee.

Before I Awoke

Rating:

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