CD Reviews

(Hed) PE

Broke

(Hed)'s extra-crispy riffage and downcast world view would feel right at home on any number of recent releases by myriad beat-heavy metal outfits, but in terms of sheer originality this Orange County, Cal sextet proves to be a pit not worthy of a mosh. All the right moves are in place on its second full-length release � booming beats, crunked out guitar licks and boombastic vocals � but the sum of "Broke" turns out to be less than the equal of its parts. (Hed)'s not a bad band, just an un-original one, opting for sonic tracing of other, better bands in lieu of sound-alike clone rock. "Killing Time" rages against the machine admirably, but (Hed) doesn't have the political vision or the deep hip-hop skills to pull off the rap end of the bargain. Lead vocalist/rapper Jahred (aka M.C.U.D.) comes across like rap-metal's answer to David Lee Roth, and he ain't talkin' about love, babe. "I'm looking for trouble tonight/You be the center, baby, I'll be the quarterback," he swaggers on the nausea-inducing "Bartender." On "I Got You," Jahred adopts the patented Jonathan Davis Korny whine and slathers all over the track like a man possessed. On "Waiting To Die," he points out, quite correctly, that "everyone dies" but he fails to mention that not everyone has to live through this dreck before doing so.

DJ Hurricane

Don't Sleep

Hip-hop DJs have it tough when it comes to putting out solo projects. After all, how do you make a rap album if you're not a rapper? If you're DJ Hurricane, you make a few calls. This mix CD features six tracks from the forthcoming project by Hurricane, best known as the longtime DJ for the Beastie Boys. Due in part to that connection, the nimble-fingered DJ manages to score a small throng of rap royalty for his latest work, "Don't Sleep." The kick-off single, "Connect," which features Xzibit, Goodie Mob's Big Gipp and Pharoahe Monch, is a funkified slice of bouncy hip-hop that packs an arsenal of verbal firepower. "How We Doin' It" is a low-rent rehash of Black Rob's "Whoa" that proves fairly tame. "Kickin Wicked Rhymes" claims to feature Ad Rock from the Beasties, but all I hear is a sample of the rapper repeated ad nauseum. The Roots' Black Thought spits all over the track though, proving that his rhyme skills have earned him a rightful place among hip-hop's elite. "Keep It Real" is even more satisfying. Featuring The Lost Boyz and Faith Evans (in her usual backing-vocal role) and a sample of "Got To Be Real," the track has more bounce than a load of laundry and could be the roller-skating jam of the fall season. "Come Get It," featuring members of the Flipmode Squad, is a standard-issue gangsta track that fails to break any new ground. Thus, the Hurra's latest seems to be much like his other works, a mixed bag of good and not-so-good, depending for the most part on who's manning the mic.

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