I Pledge Allegiance To The Grind

Artist: Killer MikeTitle: I Pledge Allegiance To The GrindRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Alejandro Mojado

Hell hath no fury like a rapper scorned, or something like that. Killer Mike sets out to personify his rage on his new double CD entitled I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind (Grind Time). The Atlanta native has been somewhat AWOL-at least to those whose knowledge of ATL rap starts and ends with OutKast-for the last couple of years due to several issues. Killer's long awaited sophomore album got pushed back several times. Then, after sliding to Big Boi's Purple Ribbon Label, the new era Dungeon Family delegate ended up have to deal with a rift between him and "labelmate" C-Bone. So Mike regrouped and decided to start his own venture, Grind Time Records, dropping two times the music to jump start the process as well as rebut rumors and criticisms about his status in the game.

Although Mike has come a long way from his roots with Outkast ("The Whole World", "Snappin' & Trappin") and recent efforts at Purple Ribbon, I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind isn't crafted in the fashion of recent releases from the lighter side of A-Town. You definitely won't find any laffy taffy here, or any shoulder leaning as well. Instead Mike tackles several thorns in his side. On the "That's Life" in true killer fashion Mike puts the smack down the recent Hip-Hop detractors such as Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, and George Bush over stunning organs. But the Marta train doesn't stop there; on "Promise I Will Not Lose" Killer takes the opportunity to set the record straight with that "side kick ho" (Mike's words) that tried to remind us "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show". After listening to this track, it's safe to say that Killer Mike is a rap gorilla not to be messed with. The Adamsville native also explains his own label situation; yes, while having started Grind Time Records; he is still signed to Purple Ribbon.

Grind Time is not a one man show. Straight out of Little Rock, Arkansas, S.L. Jones shines on several tracks including the frantic "I'm A Shine" and the menacing "Sags N' Flags". S.L. brings his own brand of special brew, with an exciting presence as well as a very interesting lyrical flair. Jones displays his true lyrical prowess on one of the CD's best tracks, "H.N.I.C." where he says: "Jones, I got the spirit of a go getter/No ni**a flow better/Flap jack, toe flipper/Phat back, hoe stripper." Other Grind Time artist featured on the CDs include Nario, Bigg Slim, Young Pill and Da Bill Collector.

I Pledge Allegiance to the Grind is a hefty affair and some of the fat could have easily been trimmed to make this a leaner, stronger release. That's not to say that this effort is filled with undesirable tracks; but there were points where it seems as if the focus was lost. Nevertheless, Mike is most definitely able to get his point across to fans and haters alike. Die hard fans will surly be pleased by this effort that is guaranteed to make you declare an oath of fealty to his brand of Southern rhyme.