Artist: Bushwick BillTitle: Gutta MixxRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine
Bushwick Bill was one of the defining variables to a classic Geto Boys album. However, Bushwick has never fared as well in his solo endeavors. While Phantom of the Rapra was the lone success, the other three albums are probably best left unmentioned. But perhaps those failures were the reflections of a cloudy Bills personal life. Five years since the last, Bushwick Bill proved himself to be essential on the Geto Boys The Foundation album at the top of the year. Will a steady mix of new solo material on Gutta Mixx (Lightyear) match?
Bill has long been one of the masters of combining gruesome detail of his ruthless thoughts with genius allegories and spiritual offerings. This paradox has made Bill quotable to many, for entirely different reasons. Vonwolfgangdonchucknice is built upon that rich tradition. Alluding back to his ego as 80s Horror icon Chuckie, Bill rhymes at his best over a drum beat bringing in lots of playful and quite convincing giggles to his threats of destroying human flesh with cutlery. Recklessendangerment is another highlight. Driven by a whimsical, thrown-together hook, Bill stories a sexcapade done the cheap and sleazy way. Although its a more somber delivery than Bill used in the late 80s, it maintains the imagery and playfulness that Bill has wisely returned to. Lyrically, this album finds Bill as strong as he ever was. Although he may settle for cheap hooks and juvenile themes in places, his writing is intricate. The mix gets a little too loose at times with the overdone Phantomchuckopera, a concept taken way too far. Equally, albeit a Texas trend, Milleniumpimpnscrewed is way too out there with or without the codeine. Still, Gutta Mixx is an hour of fun. Bill returns to being a gore-driven comedian with wisdom. He doesnt take himself seriously, but rather takes his several personas and uses them as calling cards throughout the album. Despite the casual mood, there are still a few jewels in there.
While the lyrics succeed, the mix itself suffers hard. Longtime Geto Boys and Scarface producer, Mike Dean is the only notable name behind the project. His Do What You Do is clever, but seems dated in 2005. The effort feels like a Too $hort classic, remixed with computer sound effects ten years later. Short loops like the Walk on By chop used to create Recklessendangerment are much stronger. The mixes themselves dabble in Latin, club, and hood styles of Hip-hop but these distinctions are hardly noticeable. It really just sounds like a non-stop album that musically reaches too far. If this serves as a mix to interlude a formal project, Bill should strongly consider getting either established producers, or more conventional sounding minds behind his project. The lyrics were too good to punish under the music.
As Flava Flav and Prince Paul return to the studio, its clear that Hip-hop needs its characters. Bushwick Bill will always be one of the finest. This album truly demonstrates Bills lyrical growth, and devotion to his fans wants out of his solo records. By and large however, the production rains on the party with too much experimentation, and not enough sense of the basis on which hood, club, or Latin music operates.