Rappers come with songs, albums and mixtapes full of one-liners praising themselves as the best thing since sliced bread. But how many rappers today can say that they sell in the streets like crack? Only the almighty Diplomats.
Since 2001, people in the streets have been yelling “Dipset” like cult members. After Cam’ron created the group and unleashed its force, they never spread through the industry like they’d hoped. Not letting the higher powers kill them, they created Diplomat Records off of Roc-A-Fella Records and have pushed more gutter-funk freestyles and mixtapes than official albums. The group’s standout, Juelz Santana, has gone from being Cam’ron’s protege to finally being the main attraction.
After his woeful first album, From Me To U, Santana released captivating mixtapes such as Back Like Cooked Crack 1 & 2. The buzz began to build. At times his flow may be choppy and incoherent, but he keeps up with harmonious beats from in-house producers Heatmakerz. With his new release, What The Game’s Been Missing!, Santana seeks to prove that he’s just as hot as he claims to be. With more motivation and charisma he says, “I might’ve sold the least / But I still manage to be most feared / By most MCs.”
Though the album is a bit long, weighing in at 22 songs, it’s stronger than most could’ve been predicted for Santana. He grows as an MC while still keeping his wacky style and everyday hustlin’ and grindin’ rhymes. He takes to storytelling on the deeper tracks like “Lil’ Boy Fresh” and “Gone,” where he speaks about the choices of big-time drug dealing.
Though the tone gets serious in moments, the album still contains infectious, askew beats that boast style if little new substance.
As expected, the album is full of one-liners about girls shaking their asses (“Move that ass like clockwork”), drug use (“Leave a trail of smoke like a fuckin’ exhaust pipe”) and, of course, having a style that is as addictive as crack. Okay, it may not be the level of pure narcotic Santana wants it to be, but it’s sure hot enough to be illegal.
Rating: 3 stars out of 5