Candy's 22 A Girl and Her Gun

It's been five years since rappers Barfly (Oldominion) and Stereo13 (previously Existereo of Shapeshifters) shared their debut collaboration as Candy's 22, but their follow-up to Livin La Vida Boo Hoo is a more refined collection. The duo are more confident combining to experiment with rap over a variety of beats, including a mellow piano ballad ("Streatlights"), pirate waltz ("Desire"), spacey productions ("A Taste To Our Friends" and "Shifty Ol Drunks"), country beats with twangy guitar (The Beverly Hillbillies-influenced "Bidy Bye" and plodding "Berkowitz And Perkoset") and guitar-heavy rockers (the Zeppelin-inspired "2 Shitbags and The Flys" and all-out rock-rap hybrid "Rotten Tooth"), along with a bunch of standard underground hip-hop production. Throughout the album, Barfly and Stereo are up to their usual Candy's 22 antics: a mix of braggadocio, character studies and storytelling revolving around the trashy world of drugs, alcohol, sex and violence. The music-based interludes/commentaries are hilarious, adding levity to what could otherwise be a heavy subject, as does the duo's witty sense of humour and their fondness for flows. The guest appearances are kept to a minimum, but it's worth noting the appearance of down-and-out Pharcyde rapper Fatlip on "False Hope" and always-recognizable (and enjoyable) OMD rapper 2Mex on "Cool With Me," as well as likeminded rappers Mickey Avalon and Metfly on "2 Shitbags and The Flys." Those who enjoyed the first album will love A Girl and Her Gun, but those just looking for some good hip-hop will find something they'll enjoy on this little sleeper that continues to grow on you. (Grimm Image)