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Bootleg (From the Vault), Vol. 1

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Album Review

Much like Esham's previous compilation (Detroit Dog S**t, 1997), Bootleg rounds up many of the Detroit hardcore rapper's better songs alongside some previously unreleased ones. It's by no means a definitive roundup, but it makes for an adequate introduction to his music. In fact, think of Bootleg as an Esham sampler. After years of numerous, generally accomplished underground releases, Esham aligned with TVT Records in the wake of Eminem's breakthrough, and Bootleg was no doubt intended to be the shock rap icon's coming-out party. Some of the highlights here include "Redrum," "KKKill the Fetus," and "Outcha Atmosphere." The previously unreleased tracks are of lesser quality, which makes Bootleg somewhat uneven. Even so, it's one of the best Esham releases you'll liable to track down. Because Esham's other comps (Detroit Dog S**t, Acid Rain) are likewise uneven, you can really go with any of them and not shortchange yourself. Or, more ideally, you could get them all and mix them into a more solid collection (this guy released a lot of music over the years). In any event, there's plenty of great hardcore rap here on Bootleg, even if it's not as solid as it could be.


Born: 20 September 1973 in Long Island, NY

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

As an underappreciated cult artist, Esham's harsh hardcore rap thrived in this hometown of Detroit, Michigan, for years before an ensemble of artists with a similar style began crossing over into the mainstream in the late '90s. Long before rock acts such as Limp Bizkit began rapping, long before rappers such as Kid Rock began rocking, Esham was integrating a rock influence into his rap in the early '90s, crafting a unique style of self-declared "acid rap." In fact, this term is rather fitting, given...
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Bootleg (From the Vault), Vol. 1, Esham
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