The Standard Rap 

Despite moments of promise, local rapper Bass P’s Tha 2nd Coming is anything but

Despite moments of promise, local rapper Bass P’s Tha 2nd Coming is anything but

On the first cut from his second LP, Tha 2nd Coming (Gopher Entertainment), local rapper Bass P declares his intent to bring the “Dirty Dirty South to Nashville,” expressing his desire to place Music City alongside such Southern fortresses of hip-hop as “Nawlins” and the ATL. Yeah, well, this recording isn’t going to flip that script. Too often, the album’s tracks have a nostalgic feel—a bass-heavy thump and a slight Southern twang—that evoke artists like Warren G and the low-key Houston crew N 2 Deep: They’re merely imitative of what’s popular rather than a new variation of the “Dirty South” sound. Even when P attempts to flow with a new flavor, as with a rock-inflected track like “This Is Bass P (Part II),” it’s all limp with no biscuit.

That said, P’s rap style can carry standard anthems like “Party With Me”; he also flashes promise here and there with clever rhymes, as when he claims to be “blowin’ up like the embassy from China,” a cheeky reference to the NATO bomb that struck the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999. P is weakest, though, when he reaches for depth, as he does on “Complexity,” a solemn track in which he enters the confessional. The rapper wants us to feel his pain, yet can’t express himself beyond the superficial, as when he complains that “Everything is a fallacy / There’s no understandin’ me.”

Though the vocals are often tepid, co-producer Aljon “Tha KID” programs beats that bounce like the hydraulics on your low rider. Unfortunately, most tracks on the album lack the layers of sounds that can be the hallmark of an inventive producer at work. Not only that, Tha 2nd Coming is laden with contemporary rap clichés, from the grating chant of “Holla” to the intentional misspelling in the album’s title. If Bass P wants to bring the “Dirty Dirty” to Nashville, he has to give us something to come running for—smart lyrics, funky beats and a dynamic voice.

—Mark Mays


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