Vinyl exams

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Obie Trice (that’s Mr. Trice to you) came out of nowhere with the self-deprecating anthem “The Well-Known Asshole,” a surprise underground hit in 2000 that makes this sophomore release much anticipated. Producer Moss has cooked up some nice, simple piano-based tracks, perfect for showcasing Trice’s punch line-filled braggadocio rhymes and striking voice, which invites comparisons to Young Zee of the Outsidaz. “I triple infinitely dog dare/Any nigga with steel bars to try and front over here” he rhymes on “Mr. Trice.” Nobody can front; the beats and rhymes are tight, but the song suffers without a chorus or hook. Instead, we get talking and shout-outs between verses, which will discourage DJs from throwing this one on. “Respect,” the second song, is more complete, but only comes in a clean edit version, rendering many of the lyrics incomprehensible. Fortunately, the best is saved for last, the brutally autobiographical “Dope, Jobs, Homeless,” a three-part tale with one verse dedicated to each subject. Mr. Trice clearly has all the elements of a rising star; it’s up to him to put them together. Overall, this is a solid second effort, which could have been much better with a few minor changes.

Find other local hip hop reviewed ... JayDee and Lacksidaisycal.

Luke Forrest writes about music for the Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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