[14 May 2008]
The Grouch is easily one of the hardest working men in hip-hop. Whether he’s producing and rapping with fellow Living Legends, making beats for someone else, or crafting his own efforts, the Grouch has graced more albums than you could care to count. The California-based rapper/producer has also been busy in his personal life with a marriage and a new child. With all these distractions, you can almost understand why his latest, Show You the World, is plagued by 55 minutes worth of tracks both weak and clumsy.
Unlike other rap albums, this one isn’t short on subject matter. He dishes out battle rhymes on “Clones” while also serving up a critical look at capitalism on the topnotch “Mom & Pop Killer”. Where the Grouch does fall short, however, is in his actual rapping. His sometimes awkward lyrics cause his flow to stumble. And his avant-garde approach is hit or miss. Yet, there is something wholesome about it all. The genuine sound of his voice allows him to capture the listener, even when he’s outshined by fellow Living Legend Murs on “The Bay to L.A.”, one of the album’s best tracks. The Grouch also doesn’t seem to take himself too seriously, a quality lost on a lot of artists, particularly rappers. Just listen to “Artsy” and try not to laugh.
Show You The World‘s major downfall is that it hits its stride towards the end. And those stronger songs still do not make up for the lacking openers. For every “Never Die” and its strong beat and lyricism, there’s a “Yardwork” to balance it out. While you can commend him for his die-hard approach to his craft, this album shows that the Grouch is spreading himself too thin.