WC: Guilty By Affiliation

Unlike L.A. veterans DJ Quik and MC Eiht, WC has always released material, whether group or solo, at a slower pace. Since 2004’s Def Jam one-off, the shadiest one has rebuilt Lench Mob Records with Ice Cube, and the two-thirds of Westside Connection worked hand-in-hand in crafting Guilty By Affiliation (Lench Mob Records), a polished work that upholds the conventions of Left Coast gangsta rap, without sounding like a time-capsule or an embittered old school alum still preaching to “pay your dues.”Like Busta Rhymes’ with his Big Bang album, WC uses this opportunity to celebrate his city as well as his ghetto fabulous eating habits—“Eating pastrami cheese fries in the Phantom.” Although he’s renowned for his tongue-twisting flow, WC has also taken a page from The Game (who appears on “West Coast Voodoo”), and upgraded his simile game, “I squeeze heat, fuck your day up like barbeque sauce on a brand-new creased tee.” Despite the fact that this album lacks the anthems we’ve heard in “Just Clownin’” or “Bow Down,” this is the artist’s most complete, most developed album of the three of his career. Longtime affiliates Ice Cube and Crazy Toones play a heavy-handed role in this album’s writing, scratching, and production. “West Coast Voodoo” and “Paranoid” feel like 2002 Dr. Dre scraps, coming from Teek The Beatsmith & Dee Underdue and Mr. Porter, respectively. WC rides these distinctively West Coast rhythms the best, as he struggles with futuristic pastiche on “‘80s Babies” and “Crazy Toones 4 President.” Although Snoop and The Game appear as high-profile guests, with the exception of Nottz and Rick Rock, WC lends a helping hand to deserving upcomers Teek The Beatsmith & Dee Underdue, who are yet to hone a trademark sound, but fill in nicely on a presumed budget.In the Koch-era formula, it’s easy for veterans to throw together albums that recoup and die in the low five-figures on charts. Like Ice Cube’s gold-selling Laugh Now, Cry Later last year, this effort finds WC restricted to a modest budget, but refusing to subsidize quality. Instead, the Crip-walking, twisted-braid sporting MC treats his work like 1996 all over again, with an emphasis on lyrics and delivery, and bass heavy tracks that will have you looking over your shoulder at red lights. SOUNDCHECK:WC f/ The Game "West Coast Voodoo"WC "Paranoid"