As an original member of the legendary Juice Crew, Kool G. Rap paved the way for future rap stars such as The Notorious B.I.G. and Raekwon with his multi-syllabic rhyme schemes and mafioso storytelling. However, like most of his pioneering counterparts, the days of being a household name have long been forgotten. While a few well placed cameos have kept him relevant, the absence of a solo album has prevented him from fully capitalizing on success. Attempting to resurrect what once was, G. Rap’s back after a six year hiatus with Half A Klip. While he shows signs of still being a capable MC, the album suffers immensely from weak street jargon over uninspiring production.
With an EP, the artist usually keeps things short and sweet, wetting the listener’s appetites for future endeavors. With bland orations “Typical Nigga” and “I Feel Bad For You Son” clocking in at under two minutes, G Rap makes promise on half his obligations. The puzzling “Turn It Out” jumps left with a bellydancer-like tempo only for G. Rap to pull it right with killer instincts. And then there’s the DJ Premier-produced “On The Rise Again”. With a lukewarm Primo beat on deck coupled with the bizarre pairing of Haylie Duff, G Rap makes it a triple infraction dropping flub like “…all that bullshit/Make one of you niggas suck a pitbull’s dick/either that/or the mortician be pulling on your shit…” It’s lack of focus like this that give Half A Klip the feeling it was rushed even after all these years.
However, the album is not a total bust throughout and has a few mentionables. “The Life” sheds light on Kool G. Rap’s everlasting storytelling abilities while Domingo of Souls Of Mischief fame laces “100 Rounds” with a transitional number that injects much needed adrenaline in G Rap’s flow. And while other newcomers such as Moss and Critical Childs make their solid contributions, it’s Marley Marl’s murderous organs on “With A Bullet” that act as the perfect platform for Kool G. Rap’s warbled vocals to do some damage. Unfortunately the rehashing of his verse from 1992’s Live And Let Die off the song with the same name indicate the well may have ran dry.
It’s an uphill battle for our founding fathers, who have to work twice as hard to reestablish themselves in the fickle pits of the rap game. And it’s vital that a proper comeback be imminent, otherwise they’re subject to greater ridicule than usual. While Kool G. Rap has the resiliency of a war-tested veteran, Half A Klip is not his best work. Not to be counted out just yet, Kool G. Rap still has some ammo left in his arsenal. Let’s just hope he fires back fully loaded next time.
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