Pitchfork Guilty Simpson Review
February 28, 2008, 9:32 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , ,

I’m feelin Stones Throw‘s Guilty Simpson’s debut “Ode to the Ghetto”. Pitchfork… not so much.

They give it a 4.5 and write:
“At the risk of sounding thick, I’ll admit I needed a second to get the joke of Guilty Simpson’s name, so you can imagine what kind of endorsement it is to say that’s what passes for “clever” on Ode to the Ghetto. Just as Lupe Fiasco diverts interviews to boast about his gully Chicago upbringing, Stones Throw interrupts its wise exploration of alternative hip-hop and puts its goodwill on the line in order to release a thoroughly mediocre gangsta rap album.

Not that Ode to the Ghetto was likely to be any better in the event it was inspired by cartoons and video games instead of more traditional muses, since like his namesake, Simpson creates a document of violent crime that’s hard to take seriously even if it’s based in reality. Detroit’s reputation obviously precedes itself, and yet Motor City native Simpson robs the city of its menace by presenting it in the most generic terms possible here, rendering it as replicable as a Levittown. Dope boys have the block on lock (“Footwork”) and are more admirable than the cops trying to stop them (“Pigs”). Guns pop off and mouthy bitches won’t shut the fuck up (“She Won’t Stay at Home”). Perhaps it’s meant as some sort of commentary on the universality of ghetto hardship, but I think that’s giving Simpson far too much credit after suffering though the pointedly low ambitions of “The Real Me” and “Getting Bitches” (rhymes with “getting riches”), or hearing Sean P show him how this C-list rap shit is done (“Run”).

At the very least, Simpson finds more inspiration in popular undie rap’s leading beatsmiths; Madlib, Oh No, Black Milk, and J Dilla (oddly responsible for championing this dude) gamely give “A” efforts while Simpson ramrods everything with a bullish flow reminiscent of a blue-collar hardhead like Obie Trice. At times, he’ll wisely refrain from any sort of attempt at a hook, but the times he goes in– the off-key ramble of “Robbery”, for one– are painful. And his attempted slang-slinging on “Footwork” makes Juelz Santana’s awkward “Clockwork” sound Webster’s-bound.

If you’re feeling generous, you might call “I Must Love You” Simpson’s Mike Skinner moment; potentially penetrating in its detail, an already faltering relationship is upset by a perceived flirtation in a Red Lobster. But Simpson’s boredom with the actual argument with his girlfriend spills over to him sounding bored relating the story, at which point you want to be involved in this about as much as he did. He eventually closes it with “why you actin’ like a bitch again,” a question that really can never be answered, but it’s appropriately honest for a record that’s mostly incapable of inspiring any sort of meaningful reaction.”

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