The majority of Colorado hip-hop artists haven't made a ripple outside the state, and in years past, there were good reasons for their fate; with a handful of exceptions, even promising performers just weren't ready to challenge the genre's big-timers. Today, however, that's less true than ever before, as the latest disc by Playalitical demonstrates.

"The New West" encapsulates the CD's strengths. The tune offers one surprising production touch after another -- but rather than cause the track to splinter, the crazy sound effects and hook-laden female vocals bind it together and heighten its impact. Playalitical's delivery is equally impressive. He holds his own in the presence of the Game, who guests on "Fade Away," but is even better on stronger material, including "Back to its Roots," a memorable throwback, and the doomy "Doin It Wrong," co-starring Bizzy Bone.

Thanks to Code Green, all systems are go for Playalitical. And with luck, other local hip-hoppers will follow his lead.

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