Artist: Killer MikeTitle: MonsterRating: 4 StarsReviewed by: Shadee Caviness

So far Outkast seems to be the only members of the Dungeon Family able to maintain mainstream success. Despite the atrophy of members Goodie Mob (who started out classic but quickly turned into Cee-Lo and the crew) and failed attempts from Cool Breeze and Slimm Cutta Calhoun, they can finally add another heavyweight to their roster, literally.

Aquemeni Records rookie Killer Mike, who was recruited by Big Boi, has created a heavy buzz with his hard-hitting verses on the Grammy winning “The Whole World” and “In The Land of a Million Drums”. Killer says he named his new album Monster because poor folks in America get ‘villainized’ and are treated like monsters by a society whose agenda makes them that way. Finding the light in the darkness, he puts all that anger, passion, and hate into his music and codifies it on the title track, “I’m the monster. I’m your sick and twisted monster.”

On “AKshon (yeah!)”, the first single (and the theme song of the South), Killer Mike uses the same type of nursery-rhyme, but never soft, syncopation found on his previous verbal fits, “K.I.L.L! This is the name that came to alter the game, not like these rappers who spit it the same, separate lames, from they chain.” Produced by Andre 3000, the hard, drum-heavy beat fits his rhyme cadence perfectly. Those unfamiliar with Killer Mike might get the impression that his style is predictable, but tracks like “LIVE” and “A.D.I.D.A.S.” show the contrary. “A.D.I.D.A.S”, which is an ATL acronym for All Day I Dream About Sex, not only displays his lyrical versatility, but along with cuts like “Scared Straight” and “All 4 U” show that his rough, hard vocals work well over mellow, southern flavored beats. Guest appearances by Rock D on “Blow” and Slimm Cutta Calhoun on “Home of the Brave” show just how tough Killer Mikes lyrics are when he overwhelms his partners on the callabos. However, “Re-Akshon” featuring Atlanta bred emcee T.I., Bun-B of UGK, and Bone Crusher is THE CRUNKEST club hit with lyrics from these southern favorites that definitely compliment Lil John’s production.

Killer Mike’s debut album Monster will not only put fear in the hearts of those that don’t understand him with his big, black, and tough exterior, but with his talent and the backing of Outkast and Aquemeni/Columbia Records, he will also bring fear to his competition. The Atlanta native adds some “trill” (true and real) flava to this bland rap game.

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