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splendid > reviews > 11/7/2003
Bubba Sparxxx
Bubba Sparxxx
Deliverance
Interscope


Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Take a Load Off"

Buy me now
Timbaland plus an MC equals gold, right? Based on a few of his major clients, namely Missy E, you might think so. However, I believe he saves his best or at least most interesting and innovative production for the highest bidder.

Case in point: Deliverance. This music lies somewhere between the crevices of rock, rap, Appalachian bluegrass and gritty blues, punctuated with the obligatory weird noise. You'd think this sort of a crossover would be interesting -- and to be fair, it is, at least on a few numbers. "Jimmy Mathis" pits a blend of harmonica, minimalist beats, synth stabs and those creepy African "ooo whuh" bass vocals against Sparxxx's whiteboy-meets-the-ghetto voice. "Take a Load Off" is probably the most successful song, layering a dark spy soundtrack melody over driving percussion programming, avoiding musical "clutter" and focusing on sounding gangsta. The Irish fiddle and old time vocal samples used on "Comin' Round" work well over the song's deep kick drum and ghetto keyboard strings, while "Like It or Not"'s drum 'n' bass rhythm may catch you off guard at first, but the funk horns pull it together.

Sparxxx's genre jumping spreads his talents a bit thin. His ballads ("She Tried", "Deliverance") are a bit lackluster, and the heavy-handed lyrics ("please, I promise I've suffered!") do nothing to spruce them up. As for his foray into rock/rap... do I need to say why that's wrong? Let's just say that I'd rather listen to Kid Rock's "Cowboy" than "Warrant Interlude", "My Tone" or any of the other classic-rock riff driven tunes on Deliverance.

When the songs work, they're outstanding, but the same goes for Sparxxx's misses. I can respect the need to innovate in hip-hop, but variety here comes at a cost -- there's no coherent or consistent melodic through-line. Focusing on Sparxxx's strengths, and ditching all of the filler, would have made Deliverance far more interesting.



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