OK Cobra OK Cobra

Responsible for bringing Divine Styler out of "retirement” through his now defunct fanzine, In Search of the Divine Styler, Fritz the Cat found himself with a long-running hip-hop column in Vice, followed by a brief stint as an A&R at Universal, a position he had to quit in order to finish his debut album with an old junior high school chum now known as the producer Recordface. For OK Cobra, Fritz has redone with Recordface a couple of his previously released tracks: "Bury the Bodies,” the braggadocio Bassments of Badmen 2 posse cut that features Mindbender and Vangel, has been remixed with a more mellow vibe; and the lyrics originally used for "Easy Ride’N,” the only vocal track on Montana Matthews Meets Nevada Brown’s instrumental album Southern Comfort, are put to a fun, up-tempo beat for "Fall Dumbass.” The rest of the production is just as varied but is best when Recordface gets dark and evil, like on "Beautiful.” Fritz also gets very personal, with songs devoted to hip-hop ("On the Bus” and "Child In Rhyme,” with the latter outright stating, "I’ve got to rap”) and the rest to failed love ("Time Flies,” "Hush,” "Letter,” and "Beautiful”). Finally, it finishes with a fun, loose freestyle session between Fritz and Jon Juan. A welcome debut too long in the making. (Independent)