Loose Cannons

Artist: Scram JonesTitle: Loose CannonsRating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Max Herman

The title of Scram Jones' new mixtape, Loose Cannons (Sure Shot), is fitting as it features plenty of NYC's hardest MCs letting off lyrical shots at random. Everyone from Saigon to Sean Price was summoned to participate. And producer/ DJ/ MC Scram laces each guest with a custom, hard-hitting instrumental. There are also plenty of obligatory mixtape shout outs coming from Hip-Hop icons like Grandmaster Caz to celebrities like TV host Carson Daly. Scram certainly has all the ingredients down for a successful street mix, but whether this is enough to equal a distinct effort remains questionable.

When it comes down to it, thugged-out freestyles and verses without much direction dominate this lengthy effort. And 75 minutes dominated by gun-talk can get old real quick. As this is a mixtape, though, conceptual material is not necessarily expected and Scram is likely to keep listeners who dig NYC thug rap hooked with one exclusive cut after another. Some of the more impressive numbers include Tragedy Khadafi's collaboration with Havoc ("Fallback"), Swigga's street-wise narrative "4 Shot" and the return of Boot Camp Click member Sean Price on the eerie, violin-laced cut "Remember Me." But an unexpected freestyle by the ever-unapologetic Immortal Technique proves to be the biggest surprise here.

Scram did indeed assemble many loose cannons of the rap game on this mixtape and he let them fire off without much direction. His work would have benefited from more storytelling (eg. "4 Shot") and less random thug posturing. It's actually Scram Jones' own song about his youth, "12 Years Ago," that features the most aim. If NYC thug-rap, without much rhyme or reason is your thing, then Scram Jones has the mixtape for you. At 75 exhausting minutes, though, it’s hard to imagine this entire mix being skip-proof listening for anyone.