Rap Burglar 2.5

Dashah is the sort of artist who inspires wack rappers to retire early. He's an honest bragger and a refined beast, and — perhaps most damningly for lames with less insight than Republican orangutans — homeboy is the quintessential clever hoodlum. In this extraordinary nineteen-cut tracklist, Dashah proves that he deserves the honor bestowed upon him as the in-house MC for Ill Insanity DJs Rob Swift, Precision, and Total Eclipse.

A rather obscure no-frills Brooklyn rhymesayer, he flaunts complex verbal techniques that are nonetheless accessible to anyone with ears trained for scratch-and-flow boom-bap. His greatest strength is, however, also his potential flaw: dude's voice and ethics summon Nas nostalgia in nearly every bar and hook. And much like God's Son, though he can floss when necessary, on efforts like "Reflection" and "Coulda Woulda Shoulda" he gets dramatically introspective.

This is the type of album that sunglassed hipsters loathe: there's no misguided electronic experimentation, trenchant verses bump throughout, and Dashah rarely mentions wardrobe laurels. And for those reasons, I predict that Rap Burglar 2.5 will, unfortunately but inevitably, be one of the most slept-on hip-hop gems of 2009. (Ill Insanity/Redline)


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