Remember when Charlie Brown got on stage with the sad-ass little tree and put himself out there complaining about how commercialism had ruined the true meaning of Christmas? We sort of feel the same way about all this fourth-quarter rap album diarrhea of the blog. YOU PEOPLE TAKE THE FUN OUT OF EVERYTHING! We just wanna hear some jams. Just when the constant chatter about whose leaked album of the year is more album of the year-y almost became too much to bear, a surprising, almost entirely hype-free December banger arrives in the mail to bring us off the ledge: Project Pat's Crook By Da Book: The Fed Story.
We ran a big piece on Patrick in F40, and the feature not only celebrated his signature flow (Project Pat-UH/ At-trac-TING dime piece-UHs/ Dirty South-UH, French braid, gold teeth-UHs) but his influences and favorites, which included Memphis DJ legend Spanish Fly, 808 originals Rodney O and Joe Cooley and a gang of other old schoolers. So it was a treat to hear Crook By Da Book track "Purple" kick off with some slowed Run DMC drums underneath DJ Paul and Juicy J's ominous keyboard lines. They even enlisted Beanie Sigel to come in on the assist: I ain't a role model/ Shit, if it was up to Sig, the world be drinkin purple bottles...
Broad Street Bully aside, the album is mostly a guest-free affair. Pimp C lays a verse over the extra-smooth jazz guitars of "Cause I'm A Playa," and Jeezy and Lyfe Jennings are featured on "Tell Tell Tell" (which leaked over the summer - hopefully you've grabbed that and the other singles "Good Googly Moogly" and "Raised In The Projects" already). But the majorty of Crook's 20 tracks are nothing but signature Project Pat: booming verses and Curtis Mayfield samples laid over Hypnotized Minds' horror melodies and stomp-you-out drum programming. The album follows the lead of Most Known Unknowns, fleshing out that traditional Three 6 sound and making the shit just sound bigger. "You Like" is a potential single in the "Stay Fly" mold (the PC need not apply, its hook is basically an '06 update of 2 Live Crew's "Me So Horny" intro), and "Crack A Head" flips a Kill Bill-like whistling sample and some dope Whodini synths. When "What Money Do" hits, the song's mix of soaring, chopped up soul and Pat's free associations (Dr Ruth, pushing dasies, "gunpowder in the blood, burnin your dookie hole") makes "Poppin My Collar" sound like a mixtape outtake.
But let's not be responsible for gassing up one more album this winter. Just know you better check for Pat's disc along with all that other stuff. And of course, it couldn't be a real album from the crew without the infomercial-as-outro. Juicy and Paul repeatedly mention their Oscar ("I'm congratulating me. Congratulations, Paul!"), promise a Three 6 album by the end of the year, a new Lil Wyte LP and a Tear Da Club Up Thugz LP in 2007, "new artists and everything we can't even tell y'all about," and a movie called Streets Of Memphis, along with the long-awaited Choices III. God bless Tennessee.