Split Personality

Artist: CassidyTitle: Split PersonalityRating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Paine

Cassidy earned his way into the spotlight the old fashioned way, battling. When Cassidy stepped to Freeway, nobody in the City of Brotherly Love expected to see the challenger last a minute in the ring with the hometown and Roc-a-Fella Records endorsed favorite. But somehow, someway, Cassidy knocked out Free with enough gusto to not only stay around, but to land a deal with Clive Davis’ J Records. But for the grimey battle rapper that AllHipHop followed so closely in his mixtape episodes, Cassidy was introduced to the rest of the nation with “Hotel” featuring R. Kelly, a club track so candy sweet that it leaves cavities. Is this the full story, or is the rest of Cassidy’s debut, Split Personality worthy of that initial buzz?

The answer doesn’t jump off of the album. But after all, LL Cool J isn’t typically the same LL that went after Moe Dee, Ice-T, and Canibus. Maybe Cassidy is much the same. “Tha Problem” is the first time Cassidy steps with a harder stance and he doesn’t really hold up. The track uses an obnoxious Public Enemy loop that builds energy but leaves the listener with blue balls thanks to Cassidy failing to deliver the heat. That heat remains on hold until Cassidy and Jadakiss team up for “Can I Talk to You.” This track’s brass bassline and 70’s Cop Drama feel stands out on the album. Here, Cassidy gives us the delivery that he used to get signed. But for the most part, this album’s lyrical content is tragic. Cassidy goes from a track about how he’s “Hungry”, to sixteen other tracks bragging about how he upped his status courtesy of the label. The punchlines are sub-par and the hooks are outdated reminders of early Ruff Ryder compilations. When Noreaga was hounded for rhyming the same words together, he had a reputation to uphold. Cassidy is doing it on his debut, and that’s a dangerously lazy approach to rapping.

The album’s production is authentic. Cassidy didn’t try too hard to copy what he has done. Instead, he wanted to make a Rap/R&B album, and succeeded. The actual music throughout this project is very danceable. “Around the World” is a track that would make an excellent single. It’s radio-worthy, and has a great Pop beat; a club record in full. The melodies depend on overexposure in the radio and video markets to succeed. Had it not been a single, “Hotel” doesn’t jump off the album. That leads one to believe that this album does have the potential to still be highly successful.

In terms of art, and its homage to Hip-Hop, Cassidy fails. His mixtape drops last year were buzz-worthy. However, Cassidy admits in a verse that this album was made in less than two months. It doesn’t sound like a rushed album. But even with The Lox and Snoop, and others getting involved, this album is not for the streets, but the clubs.