Super Producer Bosko Presents: That Fire

Artist: BoskoTitle: Super Producer Bosko Presents: That FireRating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jozen CummingsBay Area producer Bosko can be considered the West’s people’s champ. Those Hip-hop heads raised on the likes of E-40, 3X Crazy, and Too Short have long been familiar with what the multi-instrumentalist can do behind the boards. But on his debut mixtape, Bosko Presents: That Fire (Jus' Family), Bosko aims to make a name for himself beyond Nor-and-So-Cal.

With window-tint peeling drum crashes and melodious guitar riffs, Bosko’s sound is instantly familiar, but it can also get predictable and waning for those not riding around in lowriders on Palm tree lined strips. The album’s title track is a concoction of G-funk and Samba and immediately sets the album’s tone. But with the flamenco guitars and a nondescript vocalist sounding like a broke R. Kelly, E-40 and C-Bo’s tag-teaming bars are the cut’s only saving grace. On “Who We Be,” Bosko steps his star-game up even further with appearances by DMX and nearly forgotten Ruff Ryder, Drag-On. Surprisingly Bosko’s thunderous hand-claps and earnest electric guitar fits snugly with the Dark Man’s rabid flow, where he spits, “I know niggas that are hard-headed/but I ain’t got the patience/I don’t want me not having the patience/turning into more patients.”

Unfortunately, the album’s biggest weakness is its inauthentic sound; some of the cuts come off as a pale imitation of Top 40 favorites. The aforementioned “That Fire” sounds eerily similar to R. Kelly’s “Fiesta”, and “She’s Mine” featuring E-40 and Bosko’s own artist Cool Nutz favors Joe and G Unit’s “Ride Wit U”, and “What You Got (Remix)” sounds like a early-Timbaland with it’s whizzing synthesizers and space-age sound effects.

The imitated sounds are sad if only because of Bosko’s reputation as a West Coast Hip-hop innovator. Heads need only go back to Bosko’s days with other Bay Area favorites to see how against-the-grain he really is; and his name can easily be mentioned with Dr. Dre and Rick Rock as one of the few true West Coast producers. And on his debut mixtape, Bosko will have to continue to settle for that hometown love, and only the hometown love until he gets more fire under his belt.