Ring The Alarm

Artist: Most WantedTitle: Ring The AlarmRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Jayson Rodriguez

During the late ‘90s, the City of Brotherly Thugs re-introduced themselves to hip-hop with hardcore rappers such as Beanie Sigel, Murda Mil, and Major Figgas. But while those Philadelphians wallowed in their wicked upbringing, Philly’s Most Wanted got jiggy with it. Their Neptunes-produced debut (Get Down Or Lay Down) spawned two minor club hits, but when the space-aged beats came down to Earth, the duo of Boobonic and Mr. Man were seen as mere mortals buoyed by the super producers. With Ring The Alarm, Philly’s Most (now residing in the ATL) are out to prove that they can rock a party on their own.

The title track (and first single) finds them at their most festive as Mr. raps: “I’m freakin’/ lifting skirts/ of bad broads on E like Brooke Burke.” On “Most Wanted Sh*t (Pimp Cup),” newcomer C4 laces the track with a wailing soul-sample by The Emotions, but doesn’t choke the vocals, giving the song a more evocative element. Boobonic then proceeds to spits more game than Lebron James. “I love being a player, but I lust the bucks/ cross n*ggas like Allen, wrong n*gga to trust.”

Interestingly enough, it’s when the duo returns to the 215 that the album begins to falter. The much under-appreciated Black Thought brings the stage energy of The Roots to “Away From Here,” but Mr. and Boo can’t match the liveliness. And on “So Much Trouble (Street Money),” former A Touch of Jazz producers Dre and Vidal (Jill Scott, Musiq) provide frenzied production that would have made Swizz Beats proud—a few years ago. It doesn’t help the track either when the group delivers insipid lines such as Mr. Man’s “I’m feelin’ right so I need a left.”

With Ring the Alarm, Mr. Man and Boobonic attempt to craft just about every song into a party-to-go package. Though they succeed for the most part, the only problem with this philosophy is the album is depraved of any balance. The two exceptions being “My Baby” and “Memory Lane.” It’s not like people don’t like to have a good time, but even Paris Hilton (we think) doesn’t spend all her time partying.