CD Reviews

Bottoms Up, Customized Greatly, Vol. 3, When We Were Kings


Obie Trice Bottoms Up (Black Market Entertainment)

It’s been six years since Obie Trice released his last album, Second Rounds On Me, on Shady Records. Since then, he has virtually vanished from the scene and was no longer seen riding shotgun with Eminem. His 2012 album, Bottoms Up, is a pleasant surprise as Obie gets back in the game. Lyrically, Obie hasn’t lost a step. He’s still the same cocky MC as evidenced on “Going Nowhere.” He also shows that he and Eminem have no hard feelings as the two join forces for the first time in years on the humorous “Richard.” However, there are some potholes on the road back. “BME Up” sounds like it was left on 50 Cent’s cutting-room floor, and “Spend the Day” is a dreary attempt at wooing the opposite sex. The album often sounds like it was recorded in 2005 and held over until 2012. Despite those mishaps, Bottoms Up is a successful return to the rap game for Obie. ★★★☆☆


Casey Veggies Customized Greatly, Vol. 3 (Peas N’ Carrots)

Eighteen-year-old Casey Veggies releases his third installment of his Customized Greatly series as he continues to become recognized in the West Coast scene. As an original member of the Odd Future crew, Veggies has a small base of fans he is looking to expand upon. In some sense he accomplishes this with his latest mix tape. With more polished production, Veggies demonstrates solid lyricism and subject matter for a rapper under the drinking age. “PNCINTNLOFWGKTA” finds his crew linking up with Odd Future for a raucous lyrical romp while “Thoughts Weigh” sees the youngster get introspective on his future goals. The mix tape hiccups, however, when the production grows stale. The glitchy blips of “Toe Tag” and the sleepy production “Swag Worth a Mill” weigh down the project and will likely turn off new listeners. There’s no doubt that Veggies is good, but until he finds the perfect marriage between beats and rhymes he will struggle to make a splash in the mainstream. ★★☆☆☆


ANTHM When We Were Kings (AMG)

When a former Wall Street trader turns his suit in for a microphone, he must believe that he has what it takes to make it in the music industry. The Duke University graduate rolls the dice with this mix tape, and all signs point to ANTHM making the right decision. When We Were Kings finds ANTHM rhyming over classic songs from the Roots, Gang Starr and other classic tunes, which is always risky when trying to carve your own space. But ANTHM manages to impress on this offering with his diverse topics and clever rhymes. He offers braggadocio on “Can I Live,” explains his aspirations to succeed on “Survival of the Fittest” and spits game to the opposite sex on “Freek’n You.” Although brief at right around 30 minutes, When We Were Kings gives you just enough to want to hear more from this promising Manhattan MC. Hopefully he can build upon what he started. ★★★☆☆