Say Uncle: 2 Hard for Hip-Hop Vol. 1 (Mixtape)

Artist: DJ Green Lantern/Uncle MurdaTitle: Say Uncle: 2 Hard for Hip-Hop Vol. 1 (Mixtape)Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Slav Kandyba

Uncle Murda is from East New York, perhaps best known to Hip-Hop fans as the home base of Jeru the Damaja, though his subject matter is more Mobb Deep. A prolific lyricist Uncle Murda is not, as one could probably surmise from his moniker. Nevertheless, the grave-voiced rapper thoroughly rips through the tracks on his DJ Green Lantern-laced mixtape, 2 Hard for Hip-Hop, and if rap about violent death and street life is what you seek, you shall find.

Very simply, 2 Hard for Hip-Hop is a lengthy ear drum assault that finds Uncle Murda staking out position as the hardest gun-clapping rapper out. After a short and very authentic-sounding intro from an African bootlegger, Murda delves right into his savage repertoire. On the Green Lantern-laced title track souped with eerie rattling sounds, Murda fires at the mouth with warnings and threats aimed at competition-fake and real gangstas alike. The eerie piano chords and Nas "Invasion" vocals sample on "Without My Click GMG" find Murda giving it up to his Get Money Gangstaz crew. He applies his New York rapping chops to a G-funk beat on "Suicide", where he advises OGs to stay away from the game run by youngsters.

Murda is far from a sloppy rhymer and the mixtape is infused with his hood-star personality. At the end of an Akon joint called "Murderer Part 2" he even offers up a little humor to his would-be kill. Overall, Murda comes across more raw and credible than studio gangsta with lines like, "People want to know what's the Uncle Murda story, it's all about revolvers, guns and glory/My life far from glitz and glamour, f*ck picking up a book, I had to pick up a hammer." With a few exceptions, production is that eerie yet musical stuff that fans have come to expectt from Green Lantern. All of the beats give off raw energy to match Uncle Murda's savage rhymes, with melodic chorus contributions inserted throughout.

In the current gangsta rap scene, Uncle Murda's penchant for clichés and simple rhyme schemes just don't cut it against the lyrical dexterity of a Crooked I or even his own New York brethren Tony Yayo. While he claims he "Can give you 10 albums with hood sh*t," he might as well just make this one his last, get more creative or stick to his gun work.