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MP3 XL Middleton & 1stBorn - The Angry Asians Album (Japanese Import Version)

In the tradition of great hip hop duos like Tha Dogg Pound and EPMD comes XL Middleton & 1stBorn, "The Angry Asians" who are ready to bring their brand of West Coast lyricism to the spotlight.

15 MP3 Songs
HIP HOP/RAP: West Coast Rap, URBAN/R&B: R&B Rap mix

While West Coast upstart producer XL Middleton has made a name for himself over the past few years with classic singles like "Feel So West Coast" and epic albums like "Music 4 A Drunken Evening", his partner-in-rhyme, 1stBorn, has been lingering in the shadows, making his presence felt through guest appearances on the entire Crown City Entertainment catalog. While he hasn''t achieved the notoriety of his comrade, 1st''s solo debut "The First Draft" was a worthy introduction to the young talent, a textbook hip hop masterpiece in the tradition of West Coast classics like Xzibit''s "40 Days And 40 Nights". Even before hearing a single song, it is interesting to imagine the combination of 1st''s raw hip hop sensibilities with the slick West Coast funk of XL Middleton. Much like great duos before them, such as Outkast, EPMD, or Daz & Kurupt, these Angry Asians prove that they have chemistry and the longevity to create a worthwhile full-length album.

The first single, "Konnichi West", will obviously have huge replay value for any Japanese fans of West Coast hip hop, with its hyperactive moog bassline and deep claps contrasted by the sound of kotos. The thing that makes the song a true classic is the fact that you don''t have to be Japanese to love it. 1st and XL trade verses, bouncing off each other with contrasting deliveries that allow both MC''s to stand out in their own right. XL uses a similar, but more stripped-down version of the same formula on "The Ultimate Authority" (featuring Gr8 Dane), and on the smooth, upbeat "Try Me" (featuring Black). He also finds himself experimenting with the updated sounds of the "New West" on "We Don''t Fuck Wit U" (featuring Bo$$) and "Tell U What U Wanna Hear" (featuring Black). Finally, "Get It How U Get It" (featuring D''Zire), while not XL''s most innovative production, is still an incredible track, employing his traditional selections of analog bass and shimmering rhodes chords. Likewise, 1stBorn makes his production presence felt on the bouncy "U Think U Special" (featuring Swiss Tha Bizness) and "If It Aint Crackin" (featuring Rev), a psychedelic funk rollercoaster which proves that sample-based beatsmiths can create faithful West Coast anthems as well.

Even though XL & 1st are adept lyricists, the centerpiece of this album are the beats. Guest producers like Mista Mil, Bumpus, F-Major, and Sic Sense serve up tasty dishes alongside their Angry counterparts. The Mil-produced "Is That You" (feat. M. Anthony) carries a futuristic Neptunes-type sound to it, while F-Major''s beat for "Wipe U Off The Map" is a perfect backdrop for the lyrical slaughterhouse operated by XL, 1st, and guests Bo$$, Black, Rev, and Clinton Wayne. Sic Sense is the one behind the album''s high point, the introspective "Make You Proud," where the Angry Asians get their fury under control and reveal their more personal sides, reflecting on family members lost and making the best out of misfortune.

While The Angry Asians Album is a bit heavy on the guest appearances (if you glance at the back cover, anyway), you hardly notice the overload because XL and 1stBorn''s collective personality simply shines through on the mic. With that factored in alongside their excellent beat selections, you have a strong argument in favor of seeing these Angry Asians team up more often.

-Mr. Westified

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