Black Rob Game Tested, Streets Approved

Black Rob Game Tested, Streets Approved
A one-time Bad Boy signee who scored big with "Whoa" at the turn of the millennium, Brooklyn, NY rapper Black Rob's career was sidelined by a long prison stay after his second album in 2005. Game Tested, Streets Approved is Rob's first album in six years. It's oddly fitting, then, that "Up North" is the best song; it's a sober, vivid picture of life behind bars. Rob's gruff croak and easy flow lend his rambling assonance extra weight. The creeping pianos on "No Fear" give heft to Rob and Sean Price's menacing bars; Rob has mastered the art of calmly discussing ways in which he'll hurt you, yet he's also warmly relatable when contemplating his mistakes on "Showin Up." He needs better production to excel, as these lacklustre beats do his sterling voice a disservice. Fans hungry for NYC street rap will enjoy Game Tested, but casual listeners should steer clear. Rob can, and will, do better. Hopefully fans won't have to wait another six years for the next album though. (Duck Down)