Before his 'Reformation' Bishop seeks 'Redemption'.
Some people may not know the name but then again some people just don't know real hip-hop. Bishop Lamont is a testament to original, dynamic, refreshing hip-hop. The Dr. Dre protegee is a controversial, west coast rhymer. One part The Game, one part Eminem but on the whole a unique talent. The future of west coast hip-hop is coming straight outta Carson.
Bishop Lamont has released street album after street album for free. These are original beats and rhymes, not mixtapes. After the groundbreaking 'N**** Noise', Bishop teamed up with Detroit MC, Black Milk for the cool 'Caltroit' and then blessed us with 'Pope Mobile'. Following the classic 'The Confessional' ,Lamont teamed up with Indef for the hilarious 'Team America F*** Yeah Special Forces'.
Now after building an incredible reputation for talent and generosity over the years Bishop uses inspiration from the silver screen again for 'The Shawshank Redemption/Angola 3', his latest street album between Aftermath label pains and the long delayed, highly anticipated 'The Reformation' album. This street certified legend needs that industry recognition and he isn't about to play the waiting game.
Bishop's finds 'Redemption' on the albums opener 'Wanted Man'. A hard hitting track which rocks hard like Run DMC meets Busta Rhymes. Bishop goes hard with his lyrics showing that even on the ropes he's the one pulling the punches and the 19 track piece doesn't lose energy from there. 'Affirmative Action' keeps this battle ready MC on the same war path.
'I Like Yo Face B****' and 'Off The Liquor' are funny and funky, as is 'I.W.P' which teams Bishop up again with Indef. The track is so out there it begs the question like the 'Team America' album where the inspiration came from. Still high point or not this tracks smokin' like Jim Carrey wearing a mask. With 'The Homies Girl' Bishop keeps the laughs going, lamenting stories about accidentally hitting on other rappers girlfriends including conscious rapper Talib Kwelis. Lamont goes half B.I.G's 'Dreams' and half 50 Cents 'How To Rob', with a sly tongue in cheek homage to a classic rap concept.
As we get into the meat of the album the middle gets even better. From the modern gem 'Home' to the old school feeling 'Shout!' and the recently released 'Hollow Eyes' , which is a brilliant retrospect of how the artists year has gone. 'Anything' and 'Get Inspired' are everything that is uplifting while 'Land Of The Free' and 'Change Is Gonna Come' give great depth to the end of an immensely extended play. With these two thought provoking tracks-the album that has something for everyone-stays with you.
His release schedule may be more up in the air than George Clooney but his music is still grounded in classic hip-hop. With production from the good doctor himself and fellow former Aftermath talent Focus this album is surgically concentrated. As Bishop looks to escape the prison of record shelving his 'Shawshank Redemption' may be his best piece yet. Hip-hop hasn't seen bars like this for awhile.
The album mixes all the elements of his previous best work. It's introspective, check 'Rain'. Funny, listen to him diss 'Twilight' and most importantly its a versatile piece of commercially viable, true hip-hop. Bishop belongs with the best of the best so lets we hear more from this 'Shawshank' survivor now he's a free man. Word to Morgan.TIM DAVID HARVEY.