Monday, August 31, 2009

Pinky Ring Scale: Vol.2 Starring Ill Mondo and Neal Rames!

After This Debacle, we put Chet back on CD/DVD alphabetizing duty indefinitely.

Sometime last week he came back to the manor with my yummy lunch from Mo’s (shameless plug) and dropped a CD from Ill Mondo and Neal Rames! on my desk as well.

Neal Rames! is a white rapper. I’m not really a fan of white boys rapping. I like Cage’s Smut Peddlers stuff with Mr. Eon (Hi & Mighty), Eminem (especially The Eminem Show) and a smattering of others.

In my opinion, except the aforementioned, most white rappers have little to no flavor and their approach is so academic and sterile it turns me off. I’m also a reformed Hip-Hop snob, so all that “real Hip-Hop” stuff they often subscribe to bothers me as well. In light of that, I’ll try to remain as objective as possible- but don’t count on it.

On the first track, “The Jump Off”, Rames! admits to having a “throwback style” and displays it throughout the disc like a badge of honor. He shouts out old school and underground/backpack rappers early and often while invoking clich├ęd “real Hip-Hop” metaphors. When Rames! is less interested in holding down the rap banner and just spitting his raps, he displays deft wordplay and a flow that is remarkable.

“Sound Sharp” puts those skills front and center with …fuck an encore this ain’t really an opera/Benihana cookin’ up all the commas/hot thermometers can’t touch the phonics/shake on it/respect the tectonics…bars get bent/I’m the real Clark Kent/varsity league/that all city shit. “Natalie Moore” and “No Knot Never” are two narrative driven songs- “Natalie” is about drug addiction, the other is about male/female relationships.

Both topics are heavily mined rap song subject matter, but his take on them seems fresh. Guest Appearances by Sean Price (Boot Camp Clik) and Prince Po (Organized Confusion) also buoy the cd. Unfortunately by the time Neal Rames! pops up at the end of “Suicide Bars”, Sean Price has made him an afterthought.

The other stand out on the disc is the production by Ill Mondo. He has a very funky sound that reminds me of the soundtrack to a blaxploitation film, married to the Barney Miller theme song (hotness) without sounding corny. It doesn’t overpower Rames! and he sounds very natural over Ill’s soundscapes. It’s not anything you’re going to hear at your local club, but it definitely knocks if you can appreciate it for what it is.

Despite my unfortunate prejudices, Neal Rames! and Ill Mondo turned out to be a solid effort by a white good rapper. I give it 3 pinky rings on the Pinky Ring Scale.

You can check out Neal and Ill Mondo HERE.


  1. I don't know anything about rap, but that exclamation mark behind his name is bothering me. It's very ShamWow!-esque.

  2. a download link would have been nice.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.



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