by Andrew Matson and Courtney Harding & r & Gator Snaponya 3 STARS & r & Gator is the kind of rapper that coffee-shop Seattleites don't recognize as their own. If you see him rolling around in his green Caddy with alligator-scale rims and a taxidermied beast in his rear window (!), you'll get the picture pretty quickly. Straight out of the once gritty Central District, Gator's gangsta-sympathetic subject matter and Bay-influenced flow won't inspire anybody to Vote or Die, but that's not his problem.
His elastic flow is truly a thing to behold, an unmanned fire-hose that sneaks up and around punch lines and various quips. Whether rolling or riding (which I think means driving during the day or at night), his voice dominates even the lackluster tracks on this exceptionally well-recorded LP. Not since Paul Wall found a billion ways to rhyme about his car has this kind of music seemed so appealing. Giving a cognac-dipped blunt of a high, Gator borrows heavily from E-40 and Andre Nickatina, but like the Yay's truly legendary luminaries, owns his style. "Cognac Lounge" is possibly the best tree-blowing, free-flowing anthem this year. -- Andrew Matson & r & Check Out: "Cognac Lounge"
Carla Bozulich Evangelista 4 STARS & r & Carla Bozulich is the master of setting a scene, achieving a level of evocative detail in drowsy, early-morning cell phone conversations that other people dream for. If she can do that half asleep, imagine her talent as a storyteller on record. Like all her work, Evangelista is raw and emotional. She howls with genuine passion, even on an album that lacks in production and polish. Yet while Evangelista is intimate and intense, Bozulich herself is not. When asked about the album's lyrical content, Bozulich demurs and says, "It's just about what's going on in my life,"
It's clear that her hometown plays a large part in the events that spurred her songs. "I've been in L.A. for a long time, and I love it. I hate when people bash L.A. based on what they see on TV or in the movies. There are 10 million people there, half the population is Latino, there are so many beautiful, colorful things...." Those things are reflected beautifully here. -- Courtney Harding & r & Chec out: "Steal Away"