Thursday, September 24, 2009

Comp - The Man With The Hand (Bang-A-Rang/Shape Shifter Entertainment)

Comp has made a couple mixtapes with the same title, but make no mistake, this The Man With The Hand is an album, in fact I think it's Comp's first ever proper album of all original songs. I always thought about what his debut album would sound like when he was signed to Def Jam and of course it's nothing like that would've been, no big name producers or guest stars (or any guests at all, actually, which is kind of cool), but it kind of sums up the direction Comp has headed in the last few years with all his mixtapes, just really unique, idiosyncratic hardcore rap with his own strange flow and sense of humor and some pretty creative production. It includes the Best of Baltimore award-winning "Whole Lat" and a couple other tracks that have been floating around for a while, but for the most part it's all new music. Comp played a release party at the Black Hole a while back and I reviewed it for the City Paper's Noise blog.

There are a couple probably unintentional recurring themes I noticed on this record. The first is that there's a lot of rock samples -- specifically, "No Love" samples System Of A Down's "Lost In Hollywood," "Can't Get No Job" samples Three Days Grace's "Never Too Late" and "Her Friends" samples The Police's "Don't Stand So Close To Me." The other, much to my chagrin, is that Comp is suddenly now really fond of the "what else" ad lib that a lot of New York rappers (Juelz Santana, Joe Budden, Red Cafe, Jim Jones, etc.) use, saying it between lines here and there. But the problem is that Comp uses is ALL. THE. FUCKING. TIME. There are some verses where he says is between almost every bar. I actually sat down and counted the last time I listened to the album, and he says "what else" 44 times over the course of the CD (only on 6 songs, so he actually says it 10 times on a single track). It'd be one thing if he came up with his own ad lib or catchphrase that he ran into the ground, but he's just biting something other rappers say, and by the end I feel like screaming "NO MORE WHAT ELSE, THERE IS NOTHING ELSE!" It's just so repetitive and annoying that it comes close to ruining my enjoyment of what's otherwise a pretty good album.

Comp - "Birth Defect" (mp3)
The album ends with this really wrenching 6-minute track where Comp finally talks at length about the subject of the title The Man With The Hand, and it really might be the most personal thing he's ever recorded, really impressed with it.

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I love when Comp does the WHAT ELSE!! and how it becomes more intense as he says it.

I never heard other rappers say it, but then again, i'm not much of a fan of those you mentioned.

I still need to cop the album, though.

Thanks for the review.
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