Artist: RampageTitle: Have You Seen?Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Robert Longfellow
Rampage has always been dependable for a good sixteen bars (check the “Flava in Ya Ear (Remix)”) but being the Lieutenant in Busta Rhymes’ Flipmode Squad has also meant perpetually lurking in its shadows. Nearly a decade since his underrated 1997 sophomore act, Scouts Hono…By Way of Blood, The Last Boyscout returns with the so so Have You Seen? (Sure Shot)
Though the Flatbush native may have been out of sight, hes kept an ear for sharp beats. The blatant club missive “Rolling With You” with its thumping tribal drums and squeals courtesy of The Neptunes, makes you forget trite lyrics like “Ya like me, that’s my nigga Pharrell/Your ass is so scrumptious it’s big as hell.” DJ Scratch loops angry rock guitars on the opener “Going Out of Business”, which features a sh*t talking Busta on the chorus, his lone appearance.
The rest of the album’s production is handled by relative, though capable, unknowns. The cascading keys of the funky, Felony Music produced “Incredible” let Rampage focus on his typically swagger heavy rhymes. However, the stale synth of “Riding Dirty” and the dull electro fuzz of “Freeze”, as well as uninspired hooks, result in a pair of clunkers. Rampage fairs better on the album’s reggae tinged cuts. The Spanish guitar plucks on “Flip It”, featuring Sean Paul, sound more like pop-reggae fair, but Sizzla and Capletons chanting on the dub plate worthy “Nothing in This World” and the rude bwoi rousing “Badness”, respectively, is yard style ruggedness.
Though he may be a bit too ambitious when he spits, “I’m just a dude that’s trying to do me/A couple of classic albums, make history,” over the wailing horns of Whats Beef, his confidence is admirable. The ironically titled Rule The World, where while mulling his responsibilities and career he says he “wants to sell a few units like Digable Planets,” is the more realistic observation.