Tommy V & Sideshow Quarter Life Crisis

"I don't blame you one bit if you think my music's dumb," raps Tommy V, sing-song style on "The Brownthumb," concluding, "I do, too." The music might not be dumb, but Quarter Life Crisis is definitely depressing. Remaining true to the title throughout almost the entire album, Tommy V and guests (the Sideshow) question where they are in life and whether they should be satisfied on tracks like "My Last... Check?" and "Ma' Despacio." Taking it from inner to outer, Tommy V gets environmental with Nonaim and Bankz on "Return of the Forest," and resting somewhere between Big Pun and the Fat Boys is "Big Boned," featuring Circus, Lifeatsall and cuts by WD4D. Over the albums length are numerous appearances by Tommy V's group (EX2) and his crew (the Shapeshifters). In fact, the closest song to a Tommy V solo is "The Brownthumb," with the only guest being Nori the Elfkin Warrior on bass. Although Tommy V holds his own on his one solo song, he does occasionally falter with his flow, proof it was a good idea taking his friends along: Cloudead's Why? and Dose One, Of Mexican Descent, Circus, Awol One, the shape shifting underdogs English League, along with members of EX2, all make some tight appearances. But, what holds Quarter Life Crisis together as a Tommy V album is the production, all supplied by the big V. On a few songs, the beats don't quite work right with the MCs, but there are many songs that just click, like Awol's solo "Dumb," the massive posse cut "Suite 16" (whose beat does tend to get repetitive, however), "The Brownthum," and "We Came To See" come quickly to mind. Quarter Life Crisis serves as a great introduction to Tommy V and the artists he works with. In fact, anyone should be able to discover a few new MCs on which to keep watch. (Imprints)