La Coka Nostra A Brand You Can Trust

La Coka Nostra A Brand You Can Trust
It's inevitable hip-hop would have more than its fair share of super-groups considering how entrenched and popular collaborating is within the genre, yet most of them don't live up to the hype, or end up as one-off projects. But the big buzz is all about the evolution of a loose-knit group of artists centred upon House of Pain hype-man Danny Boy for highly anticipated super-group La Coka Nostra, injecting Non Phixion's Ill Bill and Special Teamz's Slain into a reunited House of Pain. HoP's DJ Lethal, who produces the majority of their debut album, provides a dark, gritty sound that's more Non Phixion than House of Pain, so much so even bluesy rapper Everlast drags his lyrics through the gutter. Proving he's no over-the-hill rapper, Everlast raps and sings all over A Brand You Can Trust, adding the sorrow of the blues to "The Stain" and "Cousin of Death." Already a fairly diverse group of artists, La Coka Nostra offer up even more variety with appearances from expected guests like Sen Dog and B-Real of Cypress Hill, Sick Jacken of Psycho Realm, Q-Unique and Immortal Technique. But the best guest shots are surprising appearances from Snoop Dogg, whose smooth drawl is a welcome stand-in for Everlast on the hook to "Bang Bang," and UGK's Bun B, who steals the show as the first-up on "Choose Your Side." A Brand You Can Trust is far from the House of Pain reunion album fans have been waiting for but La Coka Nostra are an interesting collection of collaborators that live up to the hype. (Suburban Noize)