Artist: A.G.Title: Get Dirty RadioRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Slav Kandyba
When a veteran rapper out of the South Bronx relocates to the Bay for a minute to do an album, does he emulate the sound of rappers around him or stay true to his roots? Fortunately for A.G., the Diggin’ in the Crates vet and one-half of the storied Showbiz and A.G., the latter is true of Get Dirty Radio (Look). The Look Records release finds A.G. wagging his Bronx tongue over a soundtrack crafted by some of West Coast underground’s best producers and hitting the mark, for the most part.
As Andre the Giant keep the rhymes airtight in the face of the fact that his heyday and Hip-Hop relevance came and went like the 90s, the beats help bring Get Dirty Radio into the 21st century. A mix of beatmakers old (Showbiz, Lord Finesse) and new (Madlib, DJ Design, Jake One) give the album a sonic balance, while what seems like an obligatory inclusion for every underground emcee these days-a J Dilla joint-is thrown in for good measure.
Get Dirty Radio doesn’t waste time with an intro, so A.G. uses the piano swirls of the Madlib-produced “Frozen” to reassure listeners that he still rhymes hard and holds allegiance to the D.I.T.C. The high keys of “If I Wanna” find A.G. in braggadocio form, which stays the same through the next six or seven tracks. On “Triumph,” A.G. spills some of the album’s most memorable lines, comparing himself to a great boxer (“It’s like Felix Trinidad stepping back in the ring.”) before giving a perfect example of what Get Dirty is about: “The Big L will never be forgotten/ The Big Apple, I eat rotten.” He gets more personal on “Love,” but the song seems out of place with the tone of the previous songs. He slows his flow down considerably for the J Dilla produced “Hip-Hop Quotable,” quoting classic Hip-Hop lines from The Infamous, God’s Son and The Chronic 2001.
Ironically, it is the fact that a veteran like A.G. chooses to quote other emcees that speaks volumes about a major flaw of Get Dirty Radio: the depth of A.G.’s own lyrics. While his 90s delivery matches the beats effectively, substance lacks and Get Dirty Radio doesn’t live up to its potential.