Poison Pen represents Brooklyn, New York. There’s no doubt
about it. On his latest album, Pick Your Poison (The Mark of the East),
he definitely drives the point home. Gritty beats and grimey rhymes can be
found throughout. Even Poison‘s flow is gutter, with his
distinctive voice. It’s good to get refreshed and hear some of what Joell
Ortiz
called “that good ol’ New York rap.”

The album shines on a few different cuts. Copland shows how well Poison
can work with conceptual tracks. With assistance from Diabolic, Fatz,
Da Assassin, Goodtime Slim
and Immortal Technique,
the track is basically a 2007 “Cop Killer” posse cut. He stands strong alone, rhyming
fresh on “Emveez
In Here”
and “Stoopid.” When he isn’t straight rappin’, he flips into
comic relief with ease.

The humor flows well with punch lines, making it an enjoyable mixture on the
album. At one point, he brags to show off this skill. “I can’t be
incognito when everybody’s on my dick.
While some may feel the topics get
too violent, you can’t deny the punch lines he unleashes. “Like a pregnancy
scare, we’ll be happy to see you bleed.
 No, he isn’t a punch line king, but unlike many, at least he makes it
entertaining. 

While the lyrics are nice, the beats are even better at times. “Who Are You?”
flips a wonderful classic to kick things off. Later, in true New York fashion,
scratched vocals fill chorus spots on “Bed Stuy Bestbuy” and “Grizzly.”
Oddly enough, cool Westcoast 80’s vibes fill “Fif N Da Mornin.” Sadly, some of the
other beats leave without making a real impression.

Overall, though, there are joints that are too bland. The rhymes are lively
and humorous, but at some point, you feel that it’s just more of the same from Poison.
Though this isn’t a classic, or even close to it, the album serves as a good
introduction to those who don’t know Pen. If he can use his
humor and raw skill over some better production, his next album should be
something to look out for. As it is, Pick Your Poison is worth a
listen, but it lacks replay value.