No, it’s not a mixtape.  It doesn’t have all the DJ shoutouts and it definitely feels like a finished product.  But it sounds like a mixtape, and I mean that in the nicest way.  It’s raw and unpolished–it sounds fresh–and its full of bits and clips between the songs, tying them together, giving it the sound of a living project.  Block McCloud’s style can be grating over time–lots of aggressive, forceful diatribes delivered in a “fuck you, back off” snarl–but his lyrics are constantly surprising.  Killer Karnival shouts out every celeb to die untimely, from Kurt to ODB and everywhere in between, and probably will strike some folks as in poor taste, but I can’t help but think they’d appreciate McCloud’s warning: The beast is about to hit your town….I don’t know if he intended the song to be a warning about drugs and the fast life, but it sure sounds like one.

McCloud’s work is often political, often challenging.  It’s nice to hear a rapper with so much to say.  And with so many talented friends: Ill Bill, Vinnie Paz, RA the Ruged Man, Celph Titled, Reef The Lost Cauze, Demunz, Fresh Jones, King Mag all make appearances.  The album is gritty, and some of the verses have so many words crammed in that they start to feel more like a lecture than a song, but if you like rap with content, this is for you.

Plus, he shouts out Park Slope, Brooklyn.  That’s where Berkeley Place if from.  Lovin’ it.

If this is what Block sounds like when he’s not with Army of Pharoahs, it gets my approval.  Highly recommended.

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