Tha Alkaholiks 

Firewater

Tha Alkaholiks are to contemporary fratboys what Biz Markie and the Beastie Boys were to '80s fratboys: a gateway drug. In other words, people who might be put off by the thug stereotypes and booty jams that dominate mainstream hip-hop could probably still relate to the 'Liks, whose name bespeaks their substantive content. Supposedly the group's final effort, Firewater perfectly fits into the template laid out on four previous albums. The production errs on the side of old-school shtick: beats clotted with handclaps, drum machines, and jack-in-the-box sounds, plus a Nate Dogg-inspired R&B hook on "Poverty's Paradise." This stuff qualifies as light party fare, and doesn't pretend to be anything else. The Alkaholiks aren't trying to teach you anything; they're just trying to snag your ear and cop your liquor. And on that level, Firewater succeeds.

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