Though many Hip Hop fans are awaiting a solo Crooked I album or even the next full-length Slaughterhouse LP, it’s not quite that time yet. Sure, the recent Shady Records signee is definitely keeping busy in the studio working on those projects, but he’s also still finding time to put on for his peoples. To make sure his crew is still in on the action, he brings listeners Planet C.O.B. Vol. 2, essentially a fifteen-track posse cut featuring those he runs with.
Unfortunately, not all emcees are created equal. Of course the Crooked I cosign helps, but not everyone can run with rap elite, even if they’re friends with them. There are pronounced highs and lows throughout Planet C.O.B. Vol. 2, with a whole lot of average in between. Though many of the beats knock, the lyrics just don’t live up to expectations. “Green Zone,” an ode to money by Coniyac, featuring Crooked I, is frustratingly unmemorable, and Sauce the Boss’ “California Swag” featuring Julius Luciano is burdened by a monotonous flow and played out subject matter.
Luckily for each dud of a track, there’s one that stands out. Crooked I and Iceman are obvious stars of the show on Planet C.O.B. Vol. 2, reigning supreme on cuts such as “Look Up” and “All I Know.” On Iceman’s “Look Up” he strays from the rest of C.O.B.’s formula and spits about rising above the drinking and smoking which has proven to be the norm in his life, all in the name of his career and being able to be a better role model. As he raps, “we need to make a living, and bring the children up / live and breathe this culture ‘til it’s instilled in us / absorb the knowledge of the road they paved / out of all the kids in my family I’m the oldest age / so they look up to me, but not just on the stage,” listeners will realize that he’s on some other shit than the rest of the people in Crooked’s social circle. Furthermore, he straight up raps well.
On the closer to the album, “All I Know,” Crooked I waxes poetic over a laid back beat with hints of quintessentially Californian elements about keeping Hip Hop alive and what made him who he is today, as he rhymes, “mama bought me a boom box before I was a teen / but unfortunately she had a welfare salary / so they cut off our electric and I ran out of batteries / oh no, no music, I’m ready to brawl / freestyling in the dark, words bouncing off the wall / I used to hate that shit growing up poor / now I realize it made my rhymes hotter than yours.”
Planet C.O.B. Vol. 2 won’t satisfy the thirst of Crooked I fans searching for him to release his next round of lyrical prowess upon the masses. It will provide a few tracks from emcees they may not be too familiar with, which will prove worthy of some repeats on an iPod. Cali sound hybridized with Southern elements will make it palatable to many, but chances are it won’t stack up against some of this summer’s heavyweight releases.