Heltah Skeltah D.I.R.T.

It may seem obvious that writing rap records about the myriad ways of putting guns to people’s heads might not be the best idea if you’re currently up on attempted murder charges in the U.S. But that’s exactly what Duck Down MC Rock did, teaming up with former rhyme partner Sean Price for D.I.R.T., their first Heltah Skeltah LP in years. To be fair, nobody’s expecting any diverse themes from these two, so it’s the rare moments of focused wit and nimble wordplay on this set that most impress, like the all out diss-fest on the comical "Art of Disrespekinazation” or the psychoanalysis of "Insane.” Normally, when words get repetitive, it’s up to the music to keep things interesting. Unfortunately, the record’s chosen producers rely so heavily on whiny strings and cascading keys in their search of that obligatory griminess that the resulting sound is a lot of grating noise for the sake of noise. (Duck Down)