It's hard to deny Rudolf is a man with some big ideas.
Louis Pattison 2008-12-12
New Orleans' Cash Money Records made their dollars pushing the Dirty South hip-hop sound, kick-starting careers of the likes of Young Buck and the Hot Boys, the Louisiana crew that counted amongst its number hip-hop's current multi million-selling Lil Wayne. Kevin Rudolf, however, proves there's far more to the label than sizzurp-sipping and Southern bounce. A white guy, Manhattan-born, in backwards baseball cap and black hoodie, Rudolf made his mark in hip-hop as a session guitar player on records for Timbaland, Lil Kim, David Banner, and Black Eyed Peas. For his debut album, though, this young gunslinger isn't out to mimic his forebears. Rather, In The City cribs tricks from both rap and rock 'n' roll, not in the pursuit of a bastardised Limp Bizkit-type hybrid, but with the intention to produce a crossover rock record with modern hip-hop tools.
When it works, as on Let It Rock, it works really quite well. An anthemic rock number set to a discofied 4/4 beat, it's blessed midway through by a cameo by Lil Wayne himself, who with his customary command of language, distils the rock 'n' roll experience to a tight 11 syllables: ''Wayne's World, Planet Rock/Panties drop, an' the top''. Elsewhere, it's a slightly more mixed bag, one that, in attempting to show off its own versatility, ends up feeling somewhat scattershot. So, we have angsty acoustic ballads (I Song), INXS-style dance-rock (Livin' It Up), shout-outs to his hometown (NYC), and some quite alarming slap-bass (Coffee And Donuts).
For all its inconsistencies, though, it's hard to deny Rudolf is a man with some big ideas: who else, for instance, could write a song like Welcome To The World, a stomping frat-metal number with a chorus that rips off Oasis' Supersonic, and a cameo from heavyweight Florida rapper Rick Ross? Probably no one. That's who.