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Album Review

Who says nobody makes regional music anymore? Shwayze is all about a specific place, even a specific time — namely, the tonier areas of Los Angeles at the tail-end of the Bush era. Call it a soundtrack to The Hills generation, as this is music designed to be seen, not heard, to be repeated endlessly as bumper music to the ongoing saga of Lauren and Heidi, or on Shwayze's very own MTV reality show, Buzzin'. What has Shwayze done to deserve such attention? Well, the rapper has had either the good fortune or keen social skills to hook up with one Cisco Adler, a scenester DJ who has managed to date Mischa Barton, Paris Hilton and — see how it's all tied together — Lauren Conrad of The Hills. Cisco is prominently featured in all photos and publicity for Shwayze's eponymous 2008 debut, so it's easy to assume that Shwayze is a group, not a rapper, and, in most respects, they are a duo, as Adler is responsible for the sun-blasted, bud-blitzed grooves that overshadow Shwayze's mumbled rhymes about sunshine, slumming rich girls, and lazy days fueled by bushels of weed. Occasionally, Shwayze threads in hints of vague violence, imagining throwing his guns in the air and stumbling upon cops who aren't quite as intimidating as pissed-off parents, but this is all fantasy learned from movies and classic rap, retro entertainment that has him convinced that 1985, the year before his birth, was a very green year indeed. Shwayze rewrites his odes to pot and babes — the marijuana described lovingly and longingly, the girls an afterthought — for 13 songs and thankfully, Cisco's palette is as limited as his partner's, as he latches upon the first sunny Sublime hippie groove that he can find and rides it out, never changing it, never varying it, even when Dave Navarro steps in to do something (it's unclear exactly what) on the closer "Flashlight," which has as little to do with Parliament as "James Brown Is Dead" has to do with either the Godfather of Soul or L.A. Style. There may be no recognition of L.A. Style, but in their blissfully ignorant, lazily monotonous sunshine grooves, Shwayze does manage to be all about the style of L.A. in 2008. [A clean version of the album was made available.]


Born: 29 May 1985 in Malibu, CA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although the Jamie Kennedy movie Malibu's Most Wanted posited that the beachside Los Angeles suburb is so upper class and lily white that the only rappers it can produce are rich teenagers fronting gangsta poses, real-life Malibu resident Shwayze begs to differ. He's in touch enough with movie culture that his handle is a corruption of the surname of the star of Dirty Dancing and Roadhouse, and his musical mentor is Cisco Adler, son of multi-millionaire record producer Lou Adler, most notorious for...
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Shwayze, Shwayze
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