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Westside Connection
TERRORIST THREATS
(Capitol)
Stars graphics

The X-tra large trio of Ice Cube, Mack 10, and WC reunite as Westside Connection to try to breathe some life into the bullet-ridden body of West Coast gangsta rap. This is the trioís second effort, and it arrives seven years after their bold and brutal debut, Bow Down, hit the streets. The íhood has changed since í96, when a gangsta paradise of swaying palm trees, bitches and íhoís, and souped-up low-riders dominated rap. Now, the South holds sway, and 50 Cent holds court over a commercially reinvigorated hip-hop nation. That doesnít stop Westside Connection from dropping a retro yet feisty and clever album thatís full of tough but playful reminders of what made this stuff appealing the first time around.

Although Ice Cube is more into acting than rapping these days, Terrorist Threats proves heís still more adept with rhymes than with lines. As he puts it on "Call 9-1-1," "Iím straight off the slave ship/My style is ancient/Iím rich and Iím famous/Iím all and Iím dangerous/I came with that language/Itís mad, itís brainless/You studied at Cambridge/Iím fuckiní your main bitch." Heís not the angry young man of The Predator and Death Certificate, but thereís plenty of socio-political venom in "Potential Victims," where he warns the young, black populace, "Look nigga, you fit the description/This is dedicated to potential victims/The crucifixion ainít no fiction/Too much bitchiní get your ass beat into submission." Mack 10 and WC ably support Cube, whoís in the Westside Connection driverís seat for most of the disc. The production doesnít break any new ground ó itís just as slick and polished as the cars that cruise Crenshaw Boulevard. But it has more than enough of Cubeís subversive charisma to get by on attitude ó and rhymes ó alone.

BY ADAM BREGMAN


Issue Date: January 2 - 8, 2004
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