Juice Crew all-star and former Cold Chillin' roster-man Craig G (Craig Curry), now a well respected veteran of hip-hop and the emcee culture, has absolutely nothing to prove nor anything lacking in his current plans, coming live from Queensbridge, New York City again with I Rap and Go Home, his sixth album (humorously but pointedly titled), released June 3rd on Soulspazm Records. The '80s-made rap-natural hasn't sacrificed his ability at writing and spitting authentic rhymes and lines, knowing full well that there are plenty of other artists in the game specializing in separate areas. He crafts his verses with an original likeness, sustaining the art the way it was first made and designed. With age and confidence, this man puts his mind-frame on full display for us, in brilliant rap-poetics, with friends and homestyle sounds, assuming good ole NYC is one of those nice homesteads for hip-hop, which it still is.
Quite the elder statesman of the game Craig G is indeed here, stating who he is right off the bat and doing him and his thing in "Intro," discussing the history of hip-hop music and sharing his love for the culture in "Long Time" and flaunting his healthy agreeable seniority and authority with old school friend Kool Keith in "Make Your Arrangements." Those are the first three cuts, but one song removed, in "It's My Turn," he looks after hip-hop like a good guardian, a solid sentinel with strong lyrics there and everywhere else before and thereafter of course. As a matter of fact, Craig G is not just a good rapper; he is a perfect rhyme technician of the trade, steady but sure, and nowhere is this more demonstrative than in his lovey "Don't Stop Loving Me" joint, where his vocals come together like two peas in a pod.
There are not many other concepts than the aforementioned, save for G's story of a trip to Japan for some shows in "W.F.W.T.," his love for the nighttime in "N.I.O.M.M." and his clear real reveal of sellout artists giving themselves away to mismanaging labels in "This Man (That Ain't Cool)." The floor of I Rap and Go Home is covered with gorgeous, irresistible boom-bap beats, adorned with several tantalizing flourishes and loops, most especially the glorious rustic fiddle in "This Man." Thank god for great golden age guys like Craig G, especially when they come back and make strong albums like this one. Also, shouts to Keith, Buckshot, Ras Kass, Rockness Monstah, Jarobi and Canibus for busting it out the park. I Rap and Go Home is nicely controversial in one or two traditional modes, but the opinions are still relevant (who can argue with putting slackened artists in their place or domineering with flawless mic-skills after all?), but there are arguably too few risks and they're familiar and relatively safe. Still, at the end of the day, Craig G has never been known as an offensive, polarizing loudmouth in rap. He's just doing the great things he does here with no fancy unnecessary frills, keeping to the basics, with very positive results.