Consequence & Clinton Sparks The Cons Vol.4: Finish What You Started

The rapid increase in the current trend of established hip-hop artists releasing mix-tapes as proper albums through mainstream distribution channels has more than been an unfortunate mixed blessing, with too many people using the format’s simplicity to drop records that do absolutely nothing to help their name. Certain MCs, however, just seem a perfect match for the mix-tape and Consequence might be one of those. On his latest edition of The Cons series, entitled Finish What You Started and hosted by mix-tape mastermind Clinton Sparks, you get just enough of the mic man for one sitting, with Cons bobbing and weaving his way through quick one- and two-verse tracks at a pace the almost mimics a live show. The record is pretty slow out of the blocks, starting off with a by-the-numbers cut sampling Minnie Riperton’s "Les Fleurs,” though while Cons demonstrates some Mase-like enthusiasm delivering his opening rhymes things do eventually pick up. Soul beats, snatched Mary J. Blige hooks and comical skits about finding out your girl’s pregnant, along with Kanye’s moderate hit "Grammy Family,” combine to fill out the rest of the record. It’s ragged, with dubbed-cassette-level sound quality and an endless amount of broken glass sound effects (Sparks’s contribution, I suppose), but it is, after all, a mix-tape, and it’s worth a listen. (Mix Unit)