Cassidy I'm A Hustla

Cassidy has [decided] to get serious on his second album, titled I’m A Hustla. His gold-selling debut, Split Personality, was mostly fluffy pop, and his chart-topping single "Hotel” featuring R. Kelly made him the annoying new baby face rapper all over BET. Cassidy is the marquee artist on Full Surface Records, and along with Swizz Beats — the label’s CEO and marquee producer — the pair have a tighter worker relationship on this album as Swizz Beats’ big ideas pay off. His formula of creating knockout hooks, like the one on the title track, which uses the Jay-Z sample from "Dirt Off Your Shoulder,” is so crisp and robust that Cassidy is forced into the background, yet the song is explosive. Swizz Beats’ versatility shines on tracks like "Bellybutton,” "C-Bonics” and "B-Boy Stance,” which all sound fresh all in different ways. But Cassidy doesn’t measure up — he sounds too fresh, too clean, and eventually boring. Perhaps if there was some genuine grit in what he had to deliver, the material would be more interesting. Apparently Cassidy the "hustla” still has a split personality, but luckily Swiss Beats has his back, so we do get a couple bangers out of this one as a result. (J)