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Charlie Hustle

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Album Review

Back in the late '80s and early '90s, there was a little-noticed rap duo called Young & Restless who released two undistinguished albums that sounded and looked like some kind of bizarre cross between the cheerfully unthreatening Kid 'N Play and fellow Miami vice hounds 2 Live Crew. Over a decade later, half of that duo, Charles Trahan, has re-emerged as Mr. Charlie, releasing a solo album that's interesting primarily for the evident talent he has for writing both lyrics and beats that are enjoyably listenable and completely uninspired at the same time. Trahan's got a knack for hooks, and aside from the ubiquitous intra-song skits, all of these songs have solidly constructed choruses built around catchy sung and rapped refrains. Unfortunately, Mr. Charlie's lyrical obsessions are so cartoonishly by-the-book that he often sounds like Eminem's Slim Shady character without the irony and self-mocking humor; songs like the self-explanatory kiss-off to a former girlfriend, "New Pussy," are catchy enough, but completely hollow. Much like the album title's namesake, Charlie Hustle has the sound of a talented rapper who's been washed away by the tide of hip-hop history.

Charlie Hustle, Mr. Charlie
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