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40 Cal

Broken Safety 2

(Babygrande; US: 22 May 2007; UK: Available as import)

Part mixtape, part album, Broken Safety 2 will largely be lost in the shuffle. There seems to be little room for 40 Cal’s no-joke street rap with the spotlight on the more flamboyant Dipset antics: Cam and Jim beefing, Cam and 50 beefing and Juelz and Lil’ Wayne teaming. Eschewing Koch (!) for indie hip-hop heavyweight Babygrande Records, Broken Safety 2 is a strange rap beast: it’s only 12 tracks and under 35 minutes long, which makes it infinitely more listenable as an album than some of the other bloated Dipset releases. But unlike those aforementioned limelighters, who, despite your thoughts on their MC skills (or mental health), are always pleasantly capricous, Broken Safety 2 is entirely predictable. As far as the third-tier Dipset rappers, Hell Rell is more interesting to listen to, but 40 Cal. is the better rapper. Opener “40 Cal’s”, as the title suggests, contains 40 prefix and suffix variations on “cal” (the best being “calamine” and “calgon”). Beyond that there’s the requisite Akon hook track, the Dipset gang track (“Dipset City”) the harebrained Juelz Santana verse (“Your girl give me giraffe head / My balls her safari”), the strugglin’ track (“Gettin’ By”) and the always interesting Cam guest spot (“Stick ‘Em”). As seen by his appearances on Fight Klub, 40’s a freestyle force, but on record he’s tame. There’s nothing on Broken Safety 2 that can match the strength of his freestyle punch lines and street-mob energy.

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