Question, remember when Dipset was down the R-O-C?
Well if you do (shoot… It was only five years ago!) you’d have to admit
that it was a waaay better look for the Harlem-based Hip Hop movement…at
least musically anyway. Why? The ‘SWAGGER’ my dudes…’THE
SWAAAGGG!!!!’ Let’s face it, most heads prefer the more lyrical Cam’ron
from the Confessions of Fire days, but the patented flow he
adopted on his platinum Come Home With Me LP, gold-selling Purple
Haze
record and every Dipset compilation and
mixtape after that was predictable but UNDENIABLY catchy, hilarious
and honestly…dope! Why? ‘THE SWAG’ man…point blank! Then you had
a dude like Juelz Santana with
that undeniable poster boy charisma and rapidly improving flow (complete
with that trademark ‘AY!’ ad-lib) and then there’s Jim Jones,
the self- appointed rock star and capo of Dipset who recently
had the audacity and confidence to go at none other than the
legendary JAY-Z and drop the hottst NYC single of ’06 in Ballin’!
Why…again you ask? that ‘SWAGGER’ folks…once you have that, the world is
yours just like Nas or Scarface.

These days however, Dipset is hanging on to that swag by a
thread thanks to a vicious mixtape from the Roc’S Tru-Life,
inconsistent quality musical output, Cam’ron bricking with Killa
Season,
unwisely promoting ‘no-snitching’ on CBS’s 60 Minutes
of all places, being mocked by 50 Cent…and then there
was that YouTube footage with him in front of his….ahem,
“Pool”. Hate to say it, but it’s not looking too great for
the Dips these days….they’re in need some serious help.
Enter Freekey Zekey?

Yes, after his breakthough performance in the video for “Hey Ma” and
a semi-brief jail stint, Freekey Zekey’s
finally got a solo album out, named Book Of Ezekiel no less. But 
even though his debut is named after a biblical text (and a play on his
government name), don’t expect anything miraculous, spiritually uplifting or
heavenly here, Freekey‘s doctrine strictly revolves
around his ‘baller’ lifestyle full of haters, expensive cars, numerous
sexcapades, a million and one coke deals, incessant gun talk….and yes, you
guessed it, MORE HATERS! Top tier NYC newcomers like Skyzoo,
Joell Ortiz or Saigon need no worry about Zekey
being serious lyrical competition anytime soon for he is good but
nothing extraordinary, the kind of rapper who would have a hard time
distinguishing himself in a neighborhood cipher with ten other new jacks.
Look no further than “Hater What You Looking At,” a good song where
Freaky shows drive on a bouncy synth loop in the first
verse but then ‘eases off the gas’ by the second and third, as if he’s
already bored of telling his critics to back off! ‘Like This’ fares
somewhat better with its sing-songy flow boasting of a ‘coke grind that’s never
falling off’ and a chef game better than Betty Crocker; but in
the end, it’s okay, but nothing special. When Zekey switches
to ‘gangsta’ mode on “Killem, Killem” with Juelz Santana and “Streets,” things
get more interesting and his confidence grows (particularly on “Killem…). This makes
for a more satisfying listen and appreciation for Freekey’s
potential.

But let’s be real here, Freekey Zekey was never about being
the King of New York or set out to try and be the best rapper alive like, say,
a Lil Wayne. Again the M.O. is
maintaining, reintroducing and celebrating the trademark Dipset
swagger. It’s all about style over substance and when paired with swag
kings Cam’ron and Juelz Santana on “Daddy’s Back,”
Freekey shows and proves and you quickly remember why you
first fell in love with Dips.730 Dip Dip” continues the hot
streak and brings the playboy affair to more insane levels when Zekey is teamed
with the rambunctious energy of Ash and Jim
Jones.

When it’s all said done, Zekey brings forth a decent LP
with the things you’ve come to expect from one of his personality, image and
affiliations. The problem is that there are no surprises here, nothing that
hasn’t been done before or done way better in the past. Dont get me wrong, there
are some strong songs here, except that the club joints don’t bang as crazy as “Oh Boy,” the
street joints aren’t nearly as anthemic as “I Really Mean It” or “Gangsta Music.Even Zekey’s
Crunk’d up’
is
trumped by “Crunk
Muzik”
 from 2004’s Dipolmatic
Immunity Vol.2
. So that, along with uninventive song titles (“Where The Dutch?”),
and a lack of thematic balance often leaves Book Of Ezekiel
sounding more like a mixtape than a true full length long player. Still, it’s
cool to see some of that old ‘Dipset swag’ re-appear from time
to time on this record; hopefully it’s a sign of more exciting things to
come.