Musab: Slicks Box

Musab is a hustler with a conscience. The Minnesota-bred rapper, also a pimp by day, spends most of Slicks Box (Hiero Imperium) both acknowledging the repercussions of his trade and offering no apologies for enjoying its spoils. But apparently it really is hard out here for a you-know-what, and it seems Musab uses this album as a tool to help sort out the baggage attached to his chosen field (or rather, the field that chose him). Sorta like therapy, if you will. The result is a blend of 12 cocky and introspective joints, all produced by King Karnov, and designed to give you an idea of who the eleven-year vet (also known as Minnesota Slicks) is, where he’s coming from and where he could be going. From jump, Musab takes a defensive stance on “Night of Mirage”: “Also, I don’t have to prove/ Nothing to you on how I get my family food/’Cause on the day of judgment/We all got something comin’.” But perhaps the person casting the most disapproval on Sab’s way of life is himself, as evidenced on the horn-inflected “I Won’t Die”: “I gave up stealing ‘cause it brings bad karma/I gave up dealing ‘cause it kills black mamas/ And I don’t need that drama.” Yet the life is good enough to him to merit the kind of bragging on “I Ain’t Even in the NBA”: “Dressed to impress/Only mess with the best/ Got your car note here/Layin’ on my chest,” and the exceptional “Hat and Shoes.” Complete with live instrumentation, the smoothed out, flute-driven track details the sweet lifestyle of Slicks, aka the “ghetto Fonzie.”Still at the end of the day, Musab, like everyone else living that street life, realizes there’s a higher power than money to answer to and pleads his case to Him in the reflective “Confessions of MN Slicks.” As Bobby Womack croons in the distance alongside a mean bassline, Musab implores, “I’m a brother on the struggle/Not a bad seed/And I have seeds/That’s why gradually/I try to change my ways/So they don’t take after me.” But dammit, it’s hard to resist the lure of the fast life and Musab admits toward the end of the song that, “I like the flash, cars and the dough I stack/I left a normal man’s life/And ain’t no going back.” Slicks Box is not a bad listen, with decent production and lyrics, though at times both border on mediocre. What’s refreshing is that Musab could easily have spent his time glorifying what he does, but chose instead to present Slicks Box as simply a glimpse into the life of a man who is someone’s son, father, and brother—who happens to pimp and hustle to make ends meet. He’s not perfect, he contradicts himself, and he knows it. God would understand. SOUNDCHECK:Musab “Confessions of MN Slicks”Musab “I Ain’t Even In The NBA”