Co$$ Before I Awoke

Co$$ Before I Awoke
Long on the humble rise through the mixtape world, with notable verses gracing the efforts of esteemed affiliates Blu, Exile and Seen along the way, Cali representative Co$$ finally slips into his own prime time slot with stellar debut long player Before I Awoke. Showcasing an equally impressive penchant for free-flowing battle rhymes and thought-provoking message raps, the seasoned wordsmith bristles with character as he transitions from the slicked-out mind trips and on-his-grind lyricism of the early going to more pointed discussions of life's meaning and faith on cuts like "What It Is?" and "No Allah." The accompanying team of multi-stylistic beat smiths, among them Fonetik Simbol, Chief and the aforementioned Exile, deliver a no less inspired sonic component, carrying the groove from the modernized West coast funk and electronic chaos of "Da Meanest" and "10-4," respectively, to the late night jazz of "Pot Ash" and broken heart ode "Love Is." The resulting word-sound combination makes for a solid listen, revealing yet another left-coast MC worth watching for. (Tres)