Artist: BoskoTitle: Super Producer Bosko Presents: That FireRating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Jozen CummingsBay Area producer Bosko can be considered the Wests peoples 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, Boskos 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 albums title track is a concoction of G-funk and Samba and immediately sets the albums tone. But with the flamenco guitars and a nondescript vocalist sounding like a broke R. Kelly, E-40 and C-Bos tag-teaming bars are the cuts 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 Boskos thunderous hand-claps and earnest electric guitar fits snugly with the Dark Mans rabid flow, where he spits, I know niggas that are hard-headed/but I aint got the patience/I dont want me not having the patience/turning into more patients.
Unfortunately, the albums 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. Kellys Fiesta, and Shes Mine featuring E-40 and Boskos own artist Cool Nutz favors Joe and G Units Ride Wit U, and What You Got (Remix) sounds like a early-Timbaland with its whizzing synthesizers and space-age sound effects.
The imitated sounds are sad if only because of Boskos reputation as a West Coast Hip-hop innovator. Heads need only go back to Boskos 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.