Thursday, July 16, 2009

Review: True To the Game

At least it's not a no-hitter.

Only Snoop Dogg's solid swagger on one song salvages True To the Game.

The February release, which currently resides at the bottom of Amazon's album sales chart, benefits Kansas City's Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

It's almost incomprehensible that a new release featuring exclusive tracks from the top stars of hip hop and R&B is currently ranked as Amazon's #434,282 best-selling album. It's either a marketing boondoggle of epic proportions or the project has deliberately been buried. (Because the album is featured on the museum's home page, I suspect it's the former.)

Yung Joc's opening track illustrates the problematic nature of the album. It's a crude extended sexual metaphor: "Keep your hands on the bat/Your eyes on the balls/Let me hear you say my name,baby/Go and take it all." That's probably not a message endorsed by the museum.

G.L.C. and Kanye West contribute "Big Screen." The amusing throwaway resembles a discarded demo version of "Good Life." Tracks featuring Ludacris, Big Boi, Chingy and Ray J also sound like tracks that weren't quite good enough for the artists' official albums. Raiyn and Talib Kweli's ballad "Flyaway," an apparent homage to Lionel Richie, is better. And "Still Hurts" serves as a reminder that Macy Gray is one of the most compelling vocalists of our time.

That leaves Snoop's "Tha Big Leagues." It's the sole track that directly addresses the Negro Leagues. It's a treat hearing Snoop name-check Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson and Cool Papa Bell in his distinctive drawl.

"It is what it is," Snoop suggests. "We always hit home runs... this could be a single though."

As usual, Snoop knows the score.

I've also been monitoring True To the Game at Plastic Sax.

I'm pleased when the #1 album in the United States is also my favorite album of the moment. Maxwell's latest release is extraordinary.

Forgive me for doing this to you, but I've realized that the only way I can get this hideous earworm out of my head is by passing it on to you. It's been eating away at my brain since I heard it on a classic rock radio station Monday.

Kansas City Click: There's no cover for Cory Morrow's gig tonight on the Power & Light stage.

Good ol' Sam Bush plays a free concert in Olathe Friday. Here's some fan footage from his appearance at the same park last year.

Sonic Youth make a glorious noise Saturday at the Uptown. Here's my favorite SY jam.

Incubus and The Duke Spirit entertain the masses Sunday at City Market.

(Original image of the marquee of the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum by There Stands the Glass.)

No comments: