Something is rotten in the state of Roc-a-Fella. The departed
king Jigga has left a sea of MCs striving to fill the void, fellow
musicians yearning to become the flagship rapper of the label.
Beanie Segal’s gripping, bulldog persona is crippled by
seemingly endless trips to the slammer. Memphis Bleek has been a
commercial disaster. Cam’Rom is too busy propping up the
lackluster Diplomats and producer/sorcerer Kanye West is off in his
own, very successful, universe.

Add to this shallow pool the Rosencrantz and Guildenstern of
rap, the instantly forgettable Young Gunz team of Young Chris and
the inexplicably named Neef. This duo from Philly, signed to the
State Property sub-division of the Roc, endlessly rep their
hometown’s peripheral neighborhoods like they’ve got
the gangsta quota of Compton and Brooklyn combined. The last time
weak rappers tried to represent such obscure townships, listeners
were told to take their shirts off and spin them like
helicopters.

The beats on the album are typical Roc-A-Fella, taut strings and
simmering handclaps over the occasional gospel chorus. Albums
Future of The Roc and Tough Luv both have ceremonial bass
lines and horns that herald the Young Gunz as saviors.

Just Blaze and Tough Luv’s equally kinetic
producers can’t redeem these refuse MC’s. Young Chris,
the stronger of the two, has a weak and chipper flow that sounds
like everyone’s kid brother trying to rap. Neef, much worse,
is about as mush-mouthed and insipid as they come. Combine this
appalling lack of skill with Juelz Santana and you’ve got
“$$$ Girlz” as one of the most droning songs of the
young year.

In the kingdom of the Roc, this poor effort reveals the duo to
be nothing more than a set of court jesters. Maybe a rejuvenated
panel of rappers can sustain the label, but not these
benchwarmers.

Music Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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