Artist: CoppershotTitle: IssuesRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Sidik Fofana

In an age where many rappers have waited for Moses to leave them unsupervised only to worship golden calf grills, we have closed our Bibles. We have surrendered to the unfortunate reality that the next Nasir Jones is somewhere wearing a hardhat on his way to a construction site or barely paying the fine for his overdue library books, never to get his proper exposure in rap’s history. Well, here is blue collar Hip-Hop's newest offering, Coppershot. Comprising itself of MC Longshot and producer Copperpot, perhaps this MC/Producer duo is the Casper ghost of Eric B & Rakim, the Guru and Premier understudy, or even a new branch all together on Hip-Hop’s family tree. The one certain is that their album is called Issues and the flows on it are butter.

When the intro/title track bows in, Longshot's intelligence and skill immediately snatches the boombox. This ain't no bubblegum rap, no sir. This here is pure ol' Chicago Tribune Hip-Hop. The duo even has Hip-Hop esteemed professor, KRS-One, give his lyrical stamp of approval on "Forgive Me". Longshot definitely has his head on his shoulders, well versed in the problems of the day. He takes it as his social responsibility to enlighten the dimmer side of the world. Impersonating the president on "Forgive Me", he spits, “Dear America four more years, we got ahead of us and I'm lead us to a brighter dawn/Whether right or wrong/We gonna stay in this war against terrorism/ and our troops ain't never coming home.” Conscious lyrics that we've heard time and time again on Hot 97. Just kidding, of course.

Y'all ain't hearing it, though. With a very vague idea of Longshot's vocal style, you are waiting for a “sounds like...[insert heavyweight lyricist here]”. Well, upon a solid listening of "Never Stand Still", where Longshot showcases magnificent breath control in his delivery, he can be arguably described as cross between Eminem and Aesop Rock. Not bad.

On the producer's end, Copperpot supplies solid accompaniment with well-crafted but simple beat formulas. Nobody said good beats had to have complex chops and progressions. Copperpot is definitely not splitting atoms with his catalogue, but at the same time there are no disasters within it.

The issues with Issues lie very little in the actual music. Some may take issue with how the album is marketed. For instance, the CD's cover is a bland picture of a meeting room circle empty folding chairs laid out in an Alcoholic's Anonymous type fashion. People may not respond well to this cover, and the whole idea of the pair's basing their album on their own dysfunctional tendencies (anger management, group therapy, jail, principal's office) is a bit dubious.

Yet, all in all, lace a CD with a R&B harped single like “Save Me”, throw in some collabos with reputable MC's like UK's Braintax, keep it at 13 tracks with a couple of bonuses and you have not steered far from the ideal witches' brew. Just go to the restaurant a.k.a the record store and give it a taste.