Mac Lethal Men Are From Mars, Pornstars Are From Earth

The debut full-length by Kansas City's MacLethal works when he merges his punch line-powered "mechanical jaws" with outside production from Blockhead and Surgeon General. The results are treats like Blockhead's "Mermaid Pornography," which screams Kool Keith, and even better productions with Surgeon General's horrorific "My Favourite Scream," the verbal massacre on "The M.A.D." and the weed anthem "Club Bamboo." As runner-up in the 2001 Scribble Jam, it's easy to believe MacLethal when he raps, "You wanna play punch line games with me/they never end," but true or not, he puts those never-ending punch lines aside to try his hand at storytelling, and rarely with pretty results. The same goes for his simple self-productions. There's a formula behind the successes (punch lines plus production pals equals entertainment) with very few exceptions. He does surprise with a few choice vocal samples and comes through with production on a couple of tracks - "My Mom Izza Thug" matches MacLethal's cheesy dirty South ditty with post-millennial "Parents Just Don't Understand"-type lyrics until everything falls apart with a beat change for the third verse, and "Cyborg's Revenge" shocks with its depth as a slow building instrumental track that morphs into a scathing diss. Yet on the other hand, a typical Blockhead production gets the soap opera treatment with a little melodrama from MacLethal ("Midnight in Manhattan"). I could make a really awesome EP out of this album. (HHI)