Bronx rapper C-Rayz Walz's debut album, 2003's Ravipops, was criticized by several media outlets for not having strong enough music to match the ferocity of his quick wit and voice, the latter of which is evocative of several prominent New York MCs (but to these ears sounds a mite like a more verbally proficient Redman). He's taken care of that on Year of the Beast with backing tracks from Belief, Emile, and labelmates El-P and Aesop Rock, along with featured guests such as Jean Grae and M-1 of dead prez. In fact one of the highlights comes courtesy of a song C-Rayz Walz produced himself, "Mark of the Beast." Don't be scared: His bark is worse than his bite, and he's even funny at times.
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