Dope Or Dog Food

Artist: Z-ManTitle: Dope Or Dog FoodRating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: TOBY9060

"And stepping to me, yo that's the wrong what

you on, huh, dope or dog food?"

That is the classic battle line Big Daddy Kane made famous in ‘88 ("Ain't No Half Steppin'"). Now in the year 2004 Z-Man comes through with his album of the same name. You might be familiar with this San Francisco treat through his ties with the Hieroglyphics camp, but do not let this association fool you. Z-Man delivers something different to the table that might be hard to swallow for some Hiero Emporium loyalists.

Z-Man is as colorful as his album’s artwork. Lyrically he comes across as a cartoon character due to his sometimes-outrageous commentary. The album grants you free admission to Nerd Rap Park, where you take a ride on the roller coaster that is the life of Z. His adventures are filled with an abundance of Carlos Rossi wine, various drugs, friendly white girls, and local 'Frisco slang "Word Billy."

The opening track "Come Gurp With Me" sets the light-hearted tone perfectly. We wake up with Z on his birthday as he starts the party early by getting twisted off his ass at 8:30 am. (Woolie blunts and wine, the cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast...) His fun-filled tales of intoxication are sprinkled throughout the album. Tracks like "Party On" and "Domain" will make you crack a smile due to his warped sense of humor.

The album also has its insightful moments. "God Was Watching" offers a different view on whether or not the man upstairs has a heart. "When the planes went up, God was watching/ when the planes went down, God was watching/ when men molest children, God is watching/ when women kill their children, God was watching."

The majority of the beats are handled by Moss, which poses a problem. The vibe gets stale halfway throughout the album as a direct result of the lack of variety in production. Lyrically Z shines on "Glued" and "Spit" but that's about it. The random subject matter coupled with sophomoric production adds up to another generic indie rap release.

Z-Man does not bring enough heat to set himself apart from "MC I AM

UNDERGROUND THEREFORE I AM KEEPING IT REAL". Dope Or Dog Food is more like baby food. Yes, it might taste good but whole food is better.