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CD Review: Dirty Rat
Rookie Of The Year
By Tamara Harris, Cinque Zenith
(more articles from this author)
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Artist: Dirty Rat
Title: Rookie Of The Year
Genre: Hip Hop
Label: Stiff Arm Records

Dirty Rat survives his stint with Loud Records, TV work on Moesha and The Parkers to release a first solo album, Rookie Of The Year. The California by way of Mississippi native follows the sounds of old school funk and various contemporary hip-hop styles conducted by a squad of producers, including Battlecat and Chris "Tha Glove" Taylor, who radiate brightest.

"Opening Statement's" minimal fanfare of pimped-out wah-wah guitar vanishes and "Let's Go" steers the album with a smooth reggaeton concoction perfected with gruff Mad Lion chants from Double O. Dirty Rat does not bulk-up on witticisms. His microphone checking is plain rap in a voice with an ilk to the throats of Sir Mix A lot, Beanie Sigel and Pharoche Monche. "D.M.F." borrows some beat percentage from Minneapolis R&B/Funk legends The Time, right down to the chorus of "Oh Ah Oh Oh Oh" closely related to their classic "Jungle Love." "Get It On" features an appearance by Kurupt and the hands of DJ Quik playing one more change to the Ohio Players funky worm tone, some characteristic West Coast G-Funk female back-up singing and an active beat.

R&B and rap collaborations are evenly represented via "Do Me" and "The One." Mirror and Ideal are the male singers who share the vocals with Dirty on these songs, remindful of Brian Mcknight and Slim of 112. Tash from the Liks puts his steam in the rotary handclaps of "Encredible Hulk," adding more party flavor to the song. Battlecat uses big funk bones from the skeleton of P-Funk's "Motor Booty Affair" to hold together the stocky bass jam "She's A Freak." Southern hip-hop's slothful meter, shrill scary notes and manly chants forms the essence of "Down and Dirty."

No coast misses its recognition in Dirty Rat's party music gumbo stirred with BPMs and bars. Straightforward and full of adoration for the funk, Dirty Rat's Rookie Of The Year tests the lie that West Coast hip-hop has no more fire.

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