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Broken Safety 2

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Album Review

The battle-rhyme king of the Dipset crew, 40 Cal always shines on mixtapes. He feeds off the hypeman energy and the relaxed rules that are both so important to the format by aggressively spitting his unusual metaphors with no filter and no shame when they're shameful. The good news is his debut for Koch began life as an underground mixtape, and then turned into an aboveground album once the label heard some possible hits. Broken Safety 2 didn't make the transition as smoothly as one would hope, since there's a disjointed feel to this full-length, but tracks like club banger "The Big Boys" with its sexy Jha Jha chorus and the ultra smooth "Hi-Road" have the hooks and enough radio-friendly polish that they deserve to be high-profile. Raw, uncompromising numbers like "40 Cals" or "New Anthem" expose the album's mixtape roots with loud loops and 40's unrelenting stream-of-rhymes, along with enough smart wordplay to make them preferable to fans of his battle rapping. The less appealing outcome of this mixtape birth is the short list of producers involved, with Doe Boy and the Bangaz handling most of the album and getting stretched too thin in the process. No one seemed to have their eye on the overall flow, which would be more of an annoyance if there were filler. There isn't, but there are some redundant numbers and a couple efforts that will only appeal to hardcore ballers who want their Dipset turned up way loud. Strong without being solid and impressive without being breakthrough, Broken Safety 2 is a very good album for the fan with a crowd-pleasing EP trapped inside. [Broken Safety 2 was also made available in a clean version, with all explicit material removed.]


Born: 31 August 1981 in Harlem, New York, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

A member of Harlem-based mixtape crew the Diplomats (aka Dipset), 40 Cal (b. Calvin Alan Byrd) made his first appearance with the self-titled theme song "40 Cal" on the Dipset album Diplomatic Immunity, Vol. 2 (2004). However, his reputation is built on his notable rhyme-battling skills, which were captured best on MTV2's Fight Klub MC battles. The competition allowed him to display his street-level approach -- a dose of lethal metaphors mixed into his gangsta braggadocio. With his own solo mixtapes,...
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Broken Safety 2, 40 Cal
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