Bossman: This Is a Warning
All eyes are on Bossman right now, since signing a reported seven-figure contract with Virgin Records earlier this year, and Baltimore waits to see whether he can live up to his self-proclaimed title as “Charm City’s King” and take his movement to the mainstream. His major-label debut isn’t due until next year, but in the meantime Bossman teamed up with New York mix-tape magnate DJ Envy for his latest underground release, This Is a Warning. As the artist formerly known as Jimmy Hash gears up to reintroduce himself to a national audience, local radio staples such as “Oh” and the Biggie-sampling “Untouchable” are reprised along with a gang of new tracks, although the current single, “Handclap,” is strangely absent. On the interludes, Bossman hangs out with Michael K. Williams (Omar from The Wire) and schools DJ Envy on Baltimore geography and club music.
Most of the new tracks are freestyles over industry-standard beats, and the majority of them pale in comparison to “Jackin’ 4 Beatz,” wherein Bossman expertly switches flows again and again over a constantly changing collage of a dozen classic and recent hits, from “Deep Cover” to “Lean Back.” Over DJ Premier’s instrumental for AZ’s “The Come Up,” Bossman campaigns for a beat from Premo for his album, and his fellow North East Kings Dollars and Tony Manson shine on posse cuts “Face Down” and “NEK Check.” But it’s Bossman whose voice sounds more commanding than ever on hard-nosed new solo joints “Pain” and “Life Like,” prime examples of the kind of East Coast goth-rap that made his independent album Law and Order such an addictive listen.