The Game, Ice Cube, Jim Jones
courtesy of the artists


This rudely named Virginia duo churn out a busy, techno-noise, machinist-mob hum that strongly recalls Yellow Swans at their electronic-blizzard best. Play loud.

"Big Dreams"

Hip hop doesn't get much more nauseously self-referential than the Game. Over this strobing Cool & Dre beat, this ex-G-Unit member says pretty much nothing while invoking Ja Rule, Irv Gotti, Junior Mafia, Jay-Z, and Dr. Dre (also, for whatever it's worth: Ellen DeGeneres, who'd probably be thrilled to know he watches her show). Dude's like the genre's pesky little brother who wants to run with the big dawgs but doesn't have the skills yet—except that he does have 'em, in abundance yet, damn him.

"A Change in Fortunes"

I don't want to use "post-rock" as a descriptor because they're better than that, but maybe it gives you an idea where this Baltimore group's coming from. Because Human Bell's circular, varied melodics ensnare like spectral spiderwebs—one minute you're pressing play, the next you're trapped in their gentle clutches. Writing objectively about 'em is tough. Just, if you're only going to buy one CD on the suggestion of this column in 2008, buy Human Bell, okay? I'll sweeten the pot: They utilize a freakin' quartz singing bowl.

"Do Ya Thing"

Is anyone really looking to Ice Cube for shallow advice on how to keep it real in 2008—any more than they'd value similar perspectives from Will Smith or Ice-T? Whatever happened, I wonder, to shocking dead white conservatism while repping your under-respected race's right to seize power by any means necessary? Cube, whose pedigree is way more Hollywood than South Central at this point, should favor acting gigs over rap—especially this sort of empty-headed, party-up pap.

"Good Shit"

Um, it would seem that Dipset's chairman needs to work through some of the same adequacy issues the Game's been sidestepping. Worse, he's totally fucking boring. Cam'ron, all is forgiven!

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