ARTIST: Re-Up Gang
TITLE: We Got It For Cheap Vol. 3
WEB DEBUT: Feb. 4, 2008
ONE-LISTEN VERDICT: The third volume of the Re-Up Gang’s We Got It For Cheap mixtape series once again hinges (shocking, we know) on your appreciation for carefully cooked (or at least passable) drug talk, as the scales and mixing bowls are on the counter before the intro is over and several tracks later we’re still mired hip-deep in baking soda and any punning permutation on the word “key” that they haven’t already gifted to less-clever folks working the same turf, i.e. skirting surrealism compared to prosaic post-Biggie porkers like Rick Ross, but as usual context is everything. You know, stuff like how they’re the “Dope boys of the year/ Bricks is on the house” and have “More powder than Maybelline.” Or how they poeticize the mechanics of Ziploc bags and call their supposedly ill-gotten gains “the devil’s baby,” continuing to faux psychoanalyze their own “cold” and “hollow” guilty consciences in now-predictable ways that even the most depth-hungry rock critics have to be inured to at this point. Clipse are wisely committed to their (sorta, kinda considering their label woes) profitable tack six years after “Grindin,” but you’d think that at some point lines like “Drug dealer/ Been that nigga half my life” are going to ring too rote to carry even a mixtape. Pusha T and Malice still have great voices, however, especially when agitated into snarls rather than sneers on uptempo tracks like “Cry Now.” And hey, maybe after 12 months of half-rapping Soulja Boys and Pop It Off Boyz and Shop Boyz and other boyz, hip-hop fans already yearn for crack rap’s winking metaphor mania?
THE BEST TRACK: The chilly, hollow booms of “20k Money Making Brothers On The Corner” are a reminder of how good Clipse and pals can still sound over sparse, fearsomely mechanical rhythms, but the choral eeriness of Kanye’s “Good Morning” suits their brand of bleakness better than it did Kanye himself.