Tragedy Khadafi Blood Ballads

Queens, NY rap pioneer Tragedy Khadafi has always been a leader and most comfortable keeping his music planted in the trenches. The latest release on his label 25 to Life Records is a two-disc compilation with a clear concept: thug/drug/jail/shootout/cocaine narratives. Tragedy has a cast of fellow Queens rappers providing backup, like Havoc and Large Professor and unknowns like KillaSha and Milk Murda. Any real focus is clearly absent, and too many weak songs are clearly what both discs are filled with. Tragedy’s style is still accented by his militant Muslim black Arabic thug persona, which is innovative but also tiring. "Live Motivator” is a throwback Tragedy selection from his intelligent hoodlum days and the vintage Marley Marl beat has a definite head nod factor. Another track that is barely worth checking out is "Bloody Murder,” a slow, gritty track featuring Black Thought, Pharoahe Monch and Chuck D. Most of the other songs sound like cutting room floor selections from the Capone-N-Noreaga sessions, or mix-tape leftovers that weren’t owned by any other labels. Tragedy is all about the streets and rap is a hustle, so he hustles all of his material through his label. If you need a fix of East coast thug rap, Blood Ballads will keep you zoned out. (Karaoke Talk)