Ghetto Tactics

So what does the phrase "ghetto sublime" really mean, anyway?

"Sublime" is something so beautiful that it ruptures all your internal systems of organization, and "ghetto" is self-explanatory. "Ghetto sublime," then, is the really realest image of "ghetto" fathomable: a ghetto keeping it so real, you have to wonder if it's for real. Something so absolutely over-the-top gangsta that it makes ODB look like a pansy. A veritably ghetto-sublime rapper would probably have to bust out a Tech-9 and shoot somebody while slapping a ho, riding in a bucket with twenty-inch rims, flossing his grill, and pounding the most hardcore gangsta beat on the planet. Simultaneously.

On his debut album, Ghetto Tactics, the Hunters Point/Potrero Hill-reared rapper Jinicydle enters the neighborhood of "ghetto sublime" -- thematically over-the-top, but solid enough in delivery that it demands you take it seriously. Jin has all the prerequisites: gunshot samples, a voice as gruff and percussive as his beats, and tongue-twista rhymes about paperchasing and packing a Glock. If the album had a thesis, it would boil down to "This ain't a movie, bitch -- I really am gonna fuck you up." Still, even this thugged-out MC has his sympathetic, fragile moments -- maybe that's the "sublime" part. In the hook of "Held Back," for instance, Jinicydle raps, "I've been held back, cuffed tight to the gate/Triple-teamed by deception, best friends, and faith."

But in truth, the real ghetto tactics belong to Jinicydle's sister, the Point's own Mak-Diddy, who steals the show on "Tha Fam," and "U Say U Want It." At eighteen years old, she could easily outbattle Rah Digga, Da Brat, or any other hot female MC -- you just can't sleep on lines like "I got too many twos, so I can be picky/But with these two guns I'm holding, can't no bra fit me."

What doesn't feel "ghetto sublime" about Ghetto Tactics is its neighborhood feel -- shout-outs to Sucka Free City, etc. -- and on-the-cheap beats that don't exactly qualify as flowery Jedi Mind Tricks. But those familiar with emerging SF gangsta artists such as Coujo, Louie Loc, and Kev Kelley (who all show up here) won't be disappointed. And for anyone curious about the neighborhoods of the Fillmore, Potrero Hill, or Hunters Point, Ghetto Tactics is suitably sublime.


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