Cassidy

Split Personality (J Records/Full Surface)

Listening to Cassidy's first two singles, "Hotel" and "Get No Better," you might think Split Personality is full of club tracks. Thankfully, it's not. But while Cassidy's debut is imaginative at times -- Personality is split into three sections with five songs each: Cassidy (the party club joints), Tha Problem (the hood/thug songs) and B. Reese (the retrospective, positive tracks) -- it straddles mediocrity at others. Songs like "Pop That Cannon" and "Blood Pressure" are run-of-the-mill, tough-guy anthems full of -- yawn! -- idle threats and crime stories.

But even when Cassidy tries to get on the conscious tip, he sounds misguided. Instead of writing uplifting, inspirational rhymes on cuts like "Husslin'" and "I'm Hungry," he complains about how hard life is. Needless to say, it's been done before. The high point, if there is one, is the production contributions of Swizz Beats. "Tha Problem," a throwback to Public Enemy, samples the classic "Terminator X to the Edge of Panic," while "Lipstick," featuring Jazze Pha, is a definite head-nodder. Even the "Hotel Vacation Remix" featuring Trina and R. Kelly is a first-rate gem -- that is, if you can get over the thought of Kelly luring fourteen-year-old girls back to the hotel.

After ripping apart Roc-A-Fella's Freeway in a battle last year, Cassidy earned tons of respect as a battle MC. Maybe next time that persona will surface.

 
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