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Disenfranchised

McEnroe

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Album Review

Before the release of Disenfranchised, Rod "McEnroe" Bailey wasn't overly interested in rehashing the typical subject matter of commercial hip-hop; in fact, in addition to talking about what it's like to have to put on business clothes and work for a living, he's actually taken aim at what popular hip-hop has become. That hasn't changed on Disenfranchised, though with McEnroe quitting his day job to focus on his music and his label, it means that even more attention has been paid to the final product here, and consequently, it's not only his most polished release, it's also his most relaxed and confident. The title points to much of the subject matter: feeling alienated by commercialization, and selling your soul to corporations, either as a consumer or as a worker. It's most clearly defined in the opening cut "Documentary," "Convenience Now Redux," and the title track, but McEnroe also takes a look back into the "good old days" in "Working in the Factory," and wonders if we really have it any worse now. If it sounds like a great big preachy blast of no fun, don't worry: it never quite gets to that point because of McEnroe's sense of humor, and ability to call himself on his own crap ("Something to Complain About"). This time out, McEnroe's also honed his storytelling abilities: "Got Away With One" is a true high-school story about a hallway incident that nearly turned into something more serious. "Let's Pawn the Bracelet (and Head For Vegas)" is the highlight here, though, with a compelling story about ditching everything to get hitched, featuring a great backing track and an actual chorus. The extra time spent on Disenfranchised didn't go unnoticed, with positive reviews coming in from major publications, which means McEnroe may be in the position of questioning commercial success in hip-hop even while experiencing it.

Disenfranchised, McEnroe
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