After several years of making appearances on Syntax Records' Night Owls compilations, 2008 sees the official debut release from Kaboose on the label. The Minnesota rapper serves up fifteen tracks on his new album, Excuse Me. With his song "Knuckle Up" being one of the strongest tracks on the Night Owls 4 collection (with the help of manCHILD and Playdough), you would have to expect an outstanding solo release, right?
One of the strong points of Excuse Me is the Syntax Records production team. Shane Newville, Tommy Percival and sirROCDOMZ make the music sound clear as a bell. In addition, most of the beats are very catchy and are usually what make the song, such as "Be First" and the slower "Precious Time." Unfortunately, there are some songs where the music ends up being slightly annoying, though still retaining a great core beat ("Follow Me Now" is an excellent example, with a sort of jazzy vibe hanging out over a thick boom bap). Moving past the musical aspect, Kaboose has a way of using a song's hook to do what its name implies - getting us hooked. Songs like "Goin' Outta Control" have a hook that makes you feel good about the song you're listening to. That is, until you actually get back into the song and realize that Kaboose isn't flowing to his fullest potential. And neither is the guest star Royce Da 5 9, who - according to Syntax's website - apparently is a rap legend (I guess even legends struggle with what they do sometimes). For most of Excuse Me, Kaboose doesn't flow that well, which is disappointing considering that he does showcase some very good rapping on a few of the other songs. "The Land of Lakes" features rapid fire lyricism, and the appearance of Syntax's golden child, RedCloud, in "Intercontinental Grand Dragons" seems to coax Kaboose out of his hiding place and into one of his stronger states of flowing. So after listening to those two songs, you just have to wonder what happened when you get check out the title track at the end (which also features weak lyrics like "So I'ma take the chance, you're the love of my life, oh yeah, the woman I'm talking about, that's my wife"), and even more so when you listen to "Two Sides" (a sloppy rap about the persecution of his Native American heritage).
If you look at the Syntax Records roster, you can find some great talent. And in an honest opinion, Kaboose can definitely be considered a part of that talent. Excuse Me definitely won't go down as one of the best Christian hip hop albums, but it feels like Kaboose didn't let it all out on this one. Yes, he spoke about his broken past and his redemption when he found God, and gave us a glimpse into who he is, but I think next time around, we can expect more from this young artist. If not, though, expect a career-ending sophomore slump.- Review date: 9/28/08, written by Scott Fryberger of Jesusfreakhideout.com
Record Label: Syntax Records
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