I must admit that after hearing the Denver-based MC, Bobby Hook, spit live at a recent birthday bash, I was eagerly anticipating a chance to hear his debut Brass Knuckle LP, Version 1.0. However, after checking out the young MC’s record, I must also admit that I’m a little disappointed.
Do understand that this disappointment doesn’t come from a lackluster product—being down with Colorado’s number one rap artist, Black P, you’re not likely to get away with that. In fact, the production is crisp and club/ radio ready, as is the mix properly executed.
However, Hook makes the mistake of opening the album with the salvo that he’s here to “change the game.” Well, his album doesn’t shatter any preconceived notions or blaze new trails. “Perfect” is the resident rap ballad, featuring a fine vocal turn by singer Melinda. Elsewhere, Hook gets inspired by Jungle and techno, but our European brethren have already perfected that lot (see Tricky, Dizzee Rascal).
Hook is a competent enough rapper, but you can trace his influences (whether real or perceived) to any number of current mic technicians. On “B.O.B.B.Y.” his content and flow are reminiscent of New York’s resident bad boy, R.A. The Rugged Man, and the song “Move It,” though flexing some techno muscle, sounds as if it might have been produced by Cali’s own Egyptian Lover (if he was still putting out tracks today). “March of The Thug Trumpets” featuring Aksis, though a pleasurable listen, is bogged down by its title’s lack of originality.
Other guest spots include Black P (“We Can’t Stop”), Avery Fantom (“Psychotic Errors”) and Chromatic (“No MC”). All are performed with relish and bravado, if not exactly composed of unique concepts. Maybe Bobby Hook meant he was changing the game by mashing up many styles? Maybe he just inhaled too much Guava? Whatever the case, his first outing is worth a listen, even if it isn’t the freshness it claims to be.