As a graf artist, DJ and MC, AWOL came up in the same California underground scene that gave birth to such respected hip-hop artists as the Shape Shifters and the Project Blowed crew. He's released a handful of projects with the likes of Daddy Kev and Fat Jack and has a garnered a loyal following in the process. On his latest effort, Art of War, AWOL continues to explore the Cali underground sound, which won't draw in the average hip-hop listener. War sounds like it was recorded in his basement, with friends like KRS-One, Eyedea, 2Mex and others just playing around with the sounds and mikes. The album isn't much more impressive from a lyrical standpoint. Even so, AWOL's quirkiness and anti-mainstream attitude is sure to appeal to the contrarian type of hip-hop kids who dis what's popular just because it's popular, not because it's wack. Nonetheless, AWOL's live show is said to be banging. Let's hope so, because his new album is pretty lackluster.
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