Juelz Santana

What the Game's Been Missing (Def Jam)

Whether he's repping the Taliban, dubbing himself "human crack in the flesh," or prefacing one of his many latently homosexual slipups with the transparently insecure caveat "no homo," Juelz Santana is brilliantly bad. During his second verse from "Mic Check," Santana sneezes, pauses, and declares, "God blessed me, yes that's true." It's a dare-to-be-stoopid sense of experimentalism that is enhanced by Santana's Pesciesque panache that lets you know you shouldn't be laughing too hard — that this is the silliness of a serial killer. So, is Santana really what the game's been missing? Maybe, but his album is mediocre. There are streaks of brilliance — the surprising ballad "Your Thing"; or the "Welcome to Jamrock" redux "Murda Murda," where Santana's mentor, the word-drunk Cam'ron, effortlessly whizzes through tongue twisters such as "Santana bananas, clip banana wrapped in bandanas" — but tracks such as "It's Like Clockwork" and "Make It Work for You" are humorless braggadocio, and ultimately boring. These songs — as well as current single, the "Wait (the Whisper Song)" wannabe, "There It Go (the Whistle Song)" — are hampered by their Collipark-like production that doesn't suit Santana's terse NYC flow. The Game isn't a dud, but it's not exactly Piff-worthy either.

 
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