Polo and Curcinado 

Acid

If you're easily seduced by sexy bass beats, the crackle of gunfire, and the creeping fear that your daughter is tied up in a studio basement, it's not hard to see why MCs Polo and Curcinado -- one half of the quartet Tha Hittaz on the Payroll -- are the new hot ticket in town. What separates 'em from the pack is their ability to inhabit the gangsta persona and still sound completely unaware of themselves, as though every song were a series of weed-induced free-associations about how many ways they can fuck you up.

In traditional turf-rap fashion, Hittaz record out of a dingy East Oakland garret, aided by local producers beholden to the small grab-bag of sounds available on ProTools. Thus, the beats on Acid are a patchwork of bleeps, blips, and perfunctory handclaps, all varying in quality. Most of the album's raps compensate for these deficiencies in production, except for the distinctly awful "What You Doing 2 Me," whose smattering of black-key notes and mucky synths do no justice to featured MCs B-Legit and Harm. Yet maybe that insensible pairing of taut rhymes and clamorous beats is proof of the song's authenticity: After all, tight raps and cheap production are a hallmark of gangsta rap.

Acid picks up with the track "Fuck wit It," in which the PSD spits bragging rights over J-Cutt's driving, junk-your-trunk snare -- from that point on, the album offers enough convincing death threats to suit the average gangsta palate. Granted, it's not an album with a discernible narrative arc or a fuckload of new vocabulary words, and it's not music for folks who squirm at the first mention of the tie and the hanky. But if you're curious about the less-pretty underbelly of East Oakland, look no further.

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