This compilation is nothing if not eclectic.
The set, which includes Colorado Springs residents No Alibi, has something for the back-packer set, for the Cali Riders, for the Houston Hustler’s, and for the Midwest Party People. They’ve even got something for fans of vintage Bone (track 16—“Your World, My Pain” by BMP267 sounds like it was siphoned off of a Wish Bone album) and early Ghetto Boys (Sever Tru?t’s “Deceived,” with its haunted house keys and horror movie strings) ; as well as Twista fans (see track 14 (“Mentally Unstable” featuring No Alibi’s DVC, Sever Tru?h and Misfit).
For the R&B minded folks, No Alibi have included a few tracks that include the Latin-tinged “Spanish Alibi” featuring Sever Tru?h and Diablo w/ Base Jase, along with “If I Could Make You See” by Huero with Prestige. The lilting female vocals alone would have been worth the listen.
What they don’t have, however, is cohesion and a sound that is indigenous to Colorado. Indeed, they’ve included everything here but the kitchen sink. This tactic may work to get them fans on a national level, but it can’t help them stand out from the crowd. To their defense, the members of Alibi—who take up the lion’s share of this project—originate from places outside of the C-O. Truth hails from Kentucky; while Doughboy spent his formative years in Kentucky and Tennessee; and Sho Nuff was born in Hawaii. But, they all met while residing in Widefield, CO; where many of them still reside today. This is where they went to school and spent time in jail; the bio’s are filled with references to “being arrested many times,” being involved in shoot-outs and doing jail time.
I guess that would explain the tone of the album; references to guns, drugs, hoes and crime in song titles like “Runaway,” “Ready 2 Die,” “Freak Ho” and “Mentally Unstable.” This and skits that involve Mafia Dons conjure up images of projects along the Eastern seaboard or barrio’s in Los Angeles, not a suburb of Colorado Springs like Widefield.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t inspired moments here. “Love Song” with Diablo & Doughboy is a nice change of pace among the proceedings, a love song replete with strained singing and gangsta keyboards. “Nothin Like This” featuring Accumen 1 and Base Jase, with Sever Tru?h and Doughboy, is a bouncy independent style joint with a catchy hook. And the appearance of Black Pegasus on “Anotha Day,” offers a much needed injection of humor and lyrical wordplay over a synth heavy beat and spare drums that would be readily received on a club dance floor.
BMP267, who hails from Arizona but currently resides in Vegas, best exemplifies the persona of this collection through their two contributions that could have easily been gleamed from a “best of Cleveland” disk. For independent hip-hop fans there’s just too much of the gangster style to make this compilation appealing, and for true gangster music fans, there’s not enough originality to sway them from what they already get from their favorite artists.
So its interesting then when the CD’s final full track “Message For Ya Mind” (Sever Tru?h featuring I.D.), with its moving bass, poppy keys and snappy snares, has a lyrical line “No more love for the game/ it’s all commercialized…” The premise of the song is that Rap music is no longer original.
Maybe this track was included to add legitimacy to the proceedings? However you look at it, though, No Locked Doors is more for those behind bars than those enjoying freedom, creative or otherwise.