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Black Mask Black Gloves

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Album Review

Hell Rell has some points to make with Black Mask Black Gloves. First, he has a lot of cash (not only does his jumbo-faced, diamond-encrusted watch on the cover look expensive, but according to him, his birth certificate is a hundred dollar bill); second, he isn't afraid to maim or kill to get his money ("I have a million enemies, killed one in May, one in June"); and third, he is nicknamed Ruga, after the guns he uses to make his cash (his alias is shouted as a catch phrase proudly throughout every song). Now, while this may all sound very familiar, the key factor that sets Ruga apart from the vast amount of other rappers who brag about their street cred, ice, and ability to use a gat, is that he sounds wholly authentic when he boasts his credentials. He explains that if he were not a rapper he would be a crack kingpin, and if you analyze his imposing personality and his infatuation with drugs, violence, and making big money, and then consider that he spent two years in prison for drug charges, his backup occupation seems entirely feasible. "Realest Ni**a Doin' It" drives home the point that he's a genuine thug, and shows why hard-hitting has become synonymous with the name Hell Rell. Over the threatening bangs of the beat, he sells coke, receives fellatio unwillingly, shoots cops, bombs blocks, steals armored trucks, and threatens to curse out the listener's mother. Temper fuels the gist of the album, and though he can throw in the occasional amusing anecdote with acrobatic abandon, after a while the limited topics wear thin along with the relentless in-your-face rhyme style. Relieving the monotony, mates Sen and Jr Writer each make an appearance before "Rumors" addresses slanderous remarks about them and the rest of 730 Dips; "Come on Baby Girl" changes pace into a love ballad (albeit a thuggish one), where he sweet-talks his woman like DMX with romantic promises of taking her to Paris to buy her shoes and Italy to buy her a slice of pizza; and "Push 'Em Back" is an urban tutorial about what to do while in the clubs. Even when the flow starts to filter and fails to sound original, the solid production maintains interest with stripped-down beats, '70s creamy spy jams, '80s keyboard lines, and head-bobbin' drum machine blasts to keep things moving.


Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Born and raised in the Bronx, rapper Hell Rell is a member of the Diplomats crew who made his solo debut in 2006 with the mixtape Streets Wanna Know. Rell's solo career was delayed a couple years by a two-year jail sentence on drug charges, although he was still able to contribute to the 2004 Diplomats album Diplomatic Immunity, Vol. 2 by rapping into his jail house phone. In 2007 he signed with the Koch label and began working on his proper debut, For the Hell of It. Black...
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Black Mask Black Gloves, Hell Rell
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