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Slicks Box

(Hiero Imperium; US: 25 Sep 2007; UK: Available as import)

Musab’s been in the rap game since the 1990s, first as a member of the Headshots, and then as a solo artist. You might not recognize his name. Back then, he recorded his solo effort, Comparison, under the name Beyond. He continued working with Rhymesayers Entertainment through the ‘90s, ultimately adopting the name he’s got now, Musab, and honing his pimp persona as “Minnesota Slicks”. Slicks Box is like a series of entries from a pimp’s diary, all supposedly based on the Minneapolis, Minnesota emcee’s real experience.

I don’t know if it’s really “real”—maybe he’s actually made his bones through his street life, maybe not—but I can tell you how it sounds. As an emcee, Musab’s got skills, toting smooth verses and sleek rhymes. Unfortunately, the verses and rhymes at hand don’t cover much ground, but the production nicely complements his flow, from the thick, syrupy grind of “I Won’t Die” to the sample of Marvin Gaye’s “I Want You” in “Please Do Not Assume”. One of the less enjoyable beats might be the one in “U Talkin’ to Me”, with a backing rhythm that sounds like a crowd of people banging on metal trash can tops. On the other hand, the Led Zeppelin sampling “Kool Aid (Gettoe Juice)” is probably the best.

There are two problems with “Slick’s Box”: (1) the hooks are appallingly weak, often ruining the momentum Musab builds with his verses, and (2) the songs aren’t convincing, whether it’s the pimp-with-a-heart-of-remorse angle in “Confessions of Minnesota Slicks” or the simple claim of being the best hip-hop artist. The skill is there, but the focus isn’t.


Quentin Huff is an attorney, writer, visual artist, and professional tennis player who lives and works in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In addition to serving as an adjunct professor at Wake Forest University School of Law, he enjoys practicing entertainment law. When he's not busy suing people or giving other people advice on how to sue people, he writes novels, short stories, poetry, screenplays, diary entries, and essays. Quentin's writing appears, or is forthcoming, in: Casa Poema, Pemmican Press, Switched-On Gutenberg, Defenestration, Poems Niederngasse, and The Ringing Ear, Cave Canem's anthology of contemporary African American poetry rooted in the South. His family owns and operates Huff Art Studio, an art gallery specializing in fine art, printing, and graphic design. Quentin loves Final Fantasy videogames, Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible, his mother Earnestine, PopMatters, and all things Prince.

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