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Curb Side Service

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Album Review

Though the aggressive, staccatoed flow rapper Prince Ali employs is more often found in the colder, darker climes of East Coast cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, the beats he uses are purely Californian. A member of the ever-growing crew/label Hiero Imperium, the Bay Area MC makes sure to shout out to his home throughout his full-length debut, Curb Side Service, sometimes directly, like in "California Cliffnotes" ("California finesse, women be feeling us/Like Ali says, we hit 'em with the syllabus," labelmate Pep Love spits), and through the guests he invites onboard (Planet Asia, A-Plus), but more often in what he chooses to rhyme over. Though the producers involved don't have much in terms of name recognition, they're all clearly inspired by the West Coast sound. The first half or so of the album is pure G-funk, with fat, smooth bass and synths leading the way ("Honor Code," for example, is straight out of 1993, and "Way of the Warrior" is silky enough to make Dr. Dre proud), while the second half switches rather suddenly into the bouncy, warm beats that the West Coast underground, and particularly the Hieroglyphics, are known for. It's a welcome change, for sure, as things begin to drag a bit after the umpteenth interpolation of "Let Me Ride," and Prince Ali is more than capable of mixing up his flow, brightening it and exploring different cadences, but it's also a little abrupt, and gives Curb Side Service a rushed and unprofessional feel, as if it was thrown together haphazardly and without much thought for track order or overall effect. This isn't to say that there aren't some great moments here — the collaboration between Ali, Keith Murray, Planet Asia, and Casual on "The Majors," the great basslines in "Breach Birth" and "Same Struggle" — but with 18 full songs (and 20 tracks total), there could've been room to be more judicious, and some could've been cut ("Hug Doves" and "3 Kings"), decisions that would've led to something with greater overall impact and strength.

Customer Reviews

Great Album

Enough said.

Real Hip Hop

The beats are on point and the flow is smooth. Prince Ali steps away from the "package rap" that currently floods the hip hop market to create an album that is truly unique. If you're a fan of real hip hop pick this one up.

What we all want: Curb Side Service with a smile

The key to a great album is that you can listen to it over and over again and continue to find something new. With this album you do just that. Prince Ali's imagery and sentrence structure is bananas. He paints pictures with his words and they are well crafted. Listening to his lyrics you understand what it means to take your time to write a song. He takes no shorts. They may require you to rewind a couple of times but the pay off is worth it, they become "ahh haa" moments. His religion is obviously a source of inspiration but it is not overwhelming or forced upon you. The beats are good, truly capture his style and flow. There are a couple of joints I can do without but overall I'm in for the whole ride. Prince Ali, is an artist that is carving his own path in a time when everyone seems to be going down the same worn path, it is refreshing to to hear someone who is creating his own lane. Take a listen and you'll agree, Prince Ali, is well on his way to becoming King Ali.


Formed: Oakland, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s

Bay Area rhymesayer Prince Ali's verbal assault combines a flaunting, B-boy-like swagger with nuances of spirituality, a strong implication of his Souls of Mischief influence. Born in Oakland, CA, but raised a few miles south in Hayward, CA, Ali was inspired to be an MC in the mid-'80s by the king B-boys of hip-hop, Run-D.M.C. After he completed his graduate program at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, he founded Eye5 Recordings in 2006, putting forth a stable of progressive rap artists,...
Full Bio
Curb Side Service, Prince Ali
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Customer Ratings

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