While Crooked I readies the much-anticipated release with his celebrated super group Slaughterhouse in Welcome to: Our House, the Long Beach wordsmith drops off a project that caters more to his West Coast constituency. Raw and rugged, Psalm 82:v6 displays what makes Crooked I such a revered emcee, as well as reveals what he needs to work on a from a solo standpoint.
Few would dispute Crooked’s reputation in the streets, and records like “G.A.N.G. Up (Grind And Never Give Up)” and “G’s Us” serve as a reminder that he’s an individual that certainly walks the walk. On the latter track, Crooked I recruits New York emcee Roc Marciano for a fierce performance that will make you think twice when stepping to him (“I will end your world in 2012, don’t get the Mayans twisted”). Then, revisiting the “Hammer Dance” motif with “Nikki,” Crooked I turns to slightly erotic metaphors to express his passion for the stainless steel in his pocket. Over a stripped down yet effective beat, he raps, “Nikki take the control / She be coming when I play with her click click / Strip you naked for sure / Then she blow you, black hole you.” Taking a more Southern route with the production (think Devin The Dude), “F*ck U Pay Me” smoothly rides out as Crooked and Twista switch their attention to stacking paper. The laid back cut has all the makings of a Summer jam for the whip, aside from the questionable line from K-Young on the hook (“Bitch my dick is better than your pussy”).
While the first half of Psalm82:v6 is ripe with quality, the middle part of the mixtape doesn’t fare as well. Amateurish in execution, “Let The Beat” features a second-rate backdrop with Crooked I attempting to make a proverbial club banger. Compromising his lyricism in process, the record struggles to gain any momentum (“Lil momma introduce me to your sushi plate / We should go on an X-rated movie date”). “Real Niggaz” seeks to filter out the games phonies, and Crooked I makes a convincing argument on his side. However, a pestering sermon throughout the track from Rick Ross (yes, the real one) falls on deaf ears. (Sidebar: when did shouting out your website become hood?). Though the beat is menacing, “Roll Call 2” feels like a posse cut collage of weed carrying rappers. The worst of Psalm 82:v6 comes on “Rachet Heauxs,” where Crooked I venomously denounces women who are blinded by money, and at one point threatens to kill one if he ever sees her. In line with the track’s theme, that’s pretty rachet of him.
Ultimately, with the help of a skip button, one can find their favorite records on Psalm 82:v6 without worrying about the inept performances that diminish the mixtape. With that said, the bigger disappointment here is that despite his years of service, Crooked I has yet to prove he’s a force to be reckoned with on the solo tip. Commercial success with Slaughterhouse can certainly cover up this flaw, but here’s to hoping the head honcho of C.O.B. can live up to his potential.
DX Consensus: “Just a Mixtape”