Copyright © 1998 All Rights Reserved.
by Frank Litorco
· Debut album for the East Coast, Jamaican-born rapper, produced by Fugee Wyclef Jean.
· Includes the chop-bustin' single "Second Round K.O.," a response to LL Cool J's dissin' of Canibus on LL's "4, 3, 2, 1."
You hear that guy exclaim, "Let's get ready to rumble!" and you know immediately a boxing match will ensue. Add a "Yo!" to the beginning of that statement, and you've got two rappers battling for rap supremacy; in this case, the contender (Canibus) versus the champion (LL Cool J). Add to the fracas the fact that other playaz are taking sides in this showdown, and you've got hype unparalleled since the days of the golden age of rap, when one-on-one MC matches were more commonplace.
Is there substance behind the hype? Of course not. This is a battle taking place on a much lower level than during the old school era. Face it, LL is way over the ill, and Canibus ain't no Kool Moe Dee or Ice-T (with whom LL has battled in the past) - know what I'm sayin'? On his debut release, Canibus lands some good blows in the form of "Get Retarded" and "Second Round K.O." Both are precise, uncompromising and damaging, like the job Frazier did to Ali back in the day. Unfortunately, the rest of the songs on Can-I-Bus are nothing more than jabs - setting up for something bigger (although nothing big lands), at best, and little more than facial massages with leather gloves, at worst.
Don't expect knockout punches or 1-2-3 combinations on this album. Rather, Can-I-Bus is as workmanlike as an album gets - no major guest appearances, no interludes, just enough decent rapping to collect a cheque at the end of the day.
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