Menace II Society is a follow-up to Capone’s
recently released first solo album Pain, Time and Glory. My main problem
with this “mixtape” is that Capone
sounds like an old guy trying to sound like a young guy, who sounds like an old
guy. “Roll With Me” is every
single wack rap cut you’ve ever heard rolled into 3 minutes and 57 seconds. “Aura” is mildly creative: Capone presents himself as a 70’s baby with 80’s aura.

Unfortunately, that might just be the problem.

“King of New York” is a Kanye
West
beat, minus the Kanye West. It puts an old school sample (I
believe from the musical Newsies) over a pretty hyper beat, but that’s
where the excitement stops. Capone’s
flow is corny, and the “rep every
borough” formula seems tired at best. “F.U. Your Honor” is no better: “This for my niggas in the
grind still movin weight/This for my niggas in the penn stressing still losing
weight/For every hungry nigga stomach touchin on the gate/this is the song I
sing for my nig-gas!”

“Troublesome (La La La)”
features Noreaga and Capone
on Just Blaze production. Nore outshines his compadre on this one
(surprise, surprise) but not quite enough to make it fit for the club.

“Fire” (feat. Lexxus) is
fueled by one rap-cliché after another (as if the title Menace II Society
wasn’t cliché enough). Gun by the bedpost… bullet-proof Range, etc. Lexxus
does provide some much needed help in the form of a Reggae verse, but then “Hand On My 9” (feat 1100 Pinky
Ring
) is a let-down. More shooting, more killing.

Yawn.

“Mac on Chill” is equally
outdated: “I keep my rims on shine,
the block is mine…” Then (on cue) Capone
capitalizes on his street credibility by playing the “I’ve been shot, stabbed, and put in jail” card. “Whassup” is a bright spot- Capone flips it on an authentic B-Boy
beat and achieves a bonafide street feel. His flow is easy and clever (but not
corny) and entertaining.

“No Henny, No Bud” is a story
rap that is not meant to be taken seriously; but “Recognize” and “38
Special” are authentic- listen close and you’ll here a cleverly sliced Jay-Z
sample on “38 Special.” Menace
ends with “Bonus Track,” on
which Capone does his best TuPac
Shakur
impression, and then switches unexpectedly into a quality “Gimme the Loot” rendition a la The
Notorious B.I.G
. Easily the best put-together track on the disc, Capone also manages to pay homage to Big
Pun
as well. And while we are on the topic of paying homage, Capone (wisely) stays away from
discussing his highly publicized involvement in Lil Kim’s perjury trial.

All in all, although it certainly struggles out the gate, Menace II Society
is not bad. But then again it certainly isn’t very good. It is, however, New York to the core…
whatever that means nowadays.