When the people down at Universal contacted me regarding interviewing St. Lunatics crucible Ali I began frowning up my face. I figured that if Nelly was the standard by which St. Louis emcees were measured then Ali, being from a crew that claims Nelly as a member, would strain to equal Nelly’s rhyme style … a rhyme style that is subpar at best. “Ali is actually a better MC than Nelly,” insisted a PR rep from UMG. They even said something to that effect on his press release. It was apparent they were trying to push him as a lyricist or something to that effect. That said a lot considering Nelly and he are supposed to be boys and are on the same label. So, I said ‘aiight’ and gave the album a firm listen only to find my early cynicism was validated on some tracks, such as the first single “Boughetto,” which is another ghetto fabulous celebration of things dysfunctional and ass backward in the hood thrown over a thump style beat. Same subject, different crew, different album is what I got from that cut. Much to my chagrin some production, like that on “No,” is eerily Cash Money-esque.

Just when I was prepared to relegate the album to the bottom of my junk drawer Ali decides he wants to flip the script with the obviously Rakim and Wu-Tang Clan influenced “360 Degrees,” a mathematics filled 5% jewel dropping festival over a simplistic, but appropriate beat. That’s something I would have never expected out of the Midwest. The single “Ore-Ore-O” is a single that has some pretty good lyrics there in as well, but the cry “Hey, Hey-Ore-Ore-O” just kills the whole vibe for me. It’s just a wack chorus. The single “Drop Top” is a cut that could conceivably be a single that gets moderate spin on the radio. The lyrics and flow are above average and approaching good.

The subject matter is nothing new. Hell, how many songs y’all know talking about drop tops? A whole damn lot! Regardless, I liked that joint. Even though my drop top is the F-Train to 179th st. With the exception of “Cool As Hell,” featuring Nelly and Murphy Lee of St. Lunatics, I was not impressed by any of the cuts with guests. They just took away from Ali. In my opinion “Crucial” is the pick of the album. It’s a very g-funked inspired track with Ali’s lyrics and twang adding just the right spice. “Walk Away” gets props as well. Overall, I feel ‘Heavy Starch‘ is a very schizophrenic album. It will go gold, at least. After all, not many gave St. Lunatics a chance in hell to go platinum, but they did that and then some. There is an audience out there for Ali. Before you cope it listen to your boy’s copy first to see if it’s your style. This is a St. Louis Blunt album and you maybe a Garcia Y Vega listener.