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He Think He Raw

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Album Review

Though a seven-year hiatus is a virtual death sentence in hip-hop, with He Think He Raw's opening stanza, "Same O.G.," Casual wastes no time in reassuring us that ain't a damn thing changed: "Just because I got my own CD, and I'm probably on TV, it ain't no changing me, its the same O.G." While conceited boasts of this nature (when was the last time anyone saw Casual on T.V.?) embody what we have come to love about Casual, is he really the same O.G.? Maybe it's just that Casual's East Oakland roots are displayed more prominently here, but it seems as if he has mutated into Too Short's younger brother on He Think He Raw. Not only is there an overwhelming West Coast "G" mentality etched all over this LP, but Casual has adopted the same predatory, skinz-fetish traits that have exemplified hip-hop's ultimate pimp for the past 15 years, as evidenced by the cheesy "Snaggle Puss," where Casual assumes a tired Dolemite identity, and the adolescent "Windows," a breathy "me so horny" romp that all teenagers can relate too. While Casual shows minimal growth, he is still as flamboyant as ever, with a very likeable style all his own. Yet, truth be told, Casual's debut, Fear Itself, exhibits a maturity and musical sophistication that this sophomore effort desperately lacks. Though the plateauing horns of "New Wave Freak" and the Alchemist's burly production on "I Gotta (Get Down)" stand out, they are the exceptions, as the majority of the production is clunky, and the newer material sags in comparison to the work Casual released (Turf Dirt) under the Stimulated moniker.


Born: East Oakland, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Casual was third out the gate (following Del tha Funkee Homosapien and Souls of Mischief) from the Hieroglyphics crew, the undisputed kings of the Oakland underground scene. Casual's stature suggests that he may be the crew's bodyguard, until the mic is in his hand and the MC commences his verbal onslaught. Anything but casual in the sound booth, the gifted freestyler, known for his fierce battle tactics, dropped the moody Fear Itself in 1994 to a chorus of cheers from the underground set. Cas scored...
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He Think He Raw, Casual
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