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BiggPatch: Aries Rising

BiggPatch: Aries Rising

Label:Unruly/diamond Life
Release Date:2009
Genre:Hip Hop/Rap
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By Michael Byrne | Posted 12/16/2009

A nicked Ozark Mountain Daredevils lyric (or a wicked coincidence) then a nicked Biggie lyric over a sped-up nicked Bob Marley song, and it's obvious that BiggPatch is much more than the "Marleyboy" advertised in the track's title. Aries Rising as a whole travels along those meshed lines, a smooth Cuisinart of slow and sexy R&B, slow and ominous new-school rap, weirdo synth futurism, and, sure, some reggae--but the common denominator is "slow," whether it's brooding, sexy, or both. Other than that, it's the kind of rap album that there just isn't too much to say about: some girls and money, some cautionary tales, some politics, the requisite boasting, and the lyricism winds up a pretty standard mix.

Whomever is guesting (presumably) on the slow-jam title track busts out with some nice internal rhyming, but it's hard to get past something like "get it on/ 'till the break of dawn" unscarred. Meanwhile, "Life of the Party" winds up an unexpected hit. With big brooding synth lines, bigger end-of-the-world beats, and a weird-ass flute (or some variety of synthesized woodwind) melody, it doesn't exactly hew to its title, nor does it turn into the cliché for-all-my-dead-homies sad rap song. Elsewhere "Let the Bass Go (We Gettin' Money)" delivers, in sound and content, on the title's promise--and grimy beehive synths--while soulful retro kick "Shades of Brown" takes a higher road, urging "take a stand/ and lend a hand."

While solid within context, "Shades of Brown," however, points to a particular and unfortunate quirk in Aries. While so much of this album leans heavily on R&B and soul, there's something off in the production: It's missing a certain warmness. The pieces are all there for a dynamite suite of slow jams, but those pieces come off as canned, leaning too hard on synth sounds and open space. There's a number of successes here, but the almosts sting.

E-mail Michael Byrne

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