Three Eyed Cowz Four Eyed Mortalz

Two years ago, "Live From Down Town Limbo," a faux-live freestyle about a mutated freak by West Coast MC Awol One, exposed me to the Three Eyed Cowz and their cassette, Evil Cow Burgers. Three Eyed Cowz is a "group" with Awol One as the central fixture with a variety of guest MCs and DJs popping by for a visit. Well, Awol is back again with his extended family of Shapeshifters, Mass Men, Visionaries and more for the second coming, Four Eyed Mortalz. While there is an abundance of instrumentals (odd when you consider the large number of guests), they are each good enough to stand on their own without vocalists. Awolrus' perfectly depressing lyrics first appear on the third track, "Perfection on Lies," but he sprinkles these dark tales with little gems of witty knowledge like, "Just because a dog licks you, doesn't mean you have to lick him back." This is followed by the album's second best track, "The Real Underground," featuring guest vocals by Massive, which rather obviously samples Nirvana's "Come As You Are," but they work it superbly. "Permanent Paradice," two songs later, is the college radio fave and the best song on Four Eyed Mortalz. It tells a beautifully sad story that demonstrates low-finance living better than any gangster-thug wannabe could ever dream of doing. And, as good as Four Eyed Mortalz is, it is only a little (nutritious) snack before the full course: Awol One's solo album Speakerface. (Mean St.)