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Ras Kass Institutionalized Re-Up/Traffic Ent • 2005

Take one of the best lyricists in the game, put him in a prison box for a few months and then release him; he’ll be a monster on the mic. Only one track deep and 'Institutionalized' starts off with Ras’ anger, persistency and metaphorical wizardry: 'When I die, burry me fuckin naked, face down in the grass, so I can fuck the world while y’all kiss my ass!'. Ras is back, and he ain’t goin nowhere.

While most of us here at the office were afraid for what’s to come (read: hollow commercialism), 'Institutionalized' is a collection of trademark Ras Kass songs, lyrically very strong, production wise pretty much holdin it down. He even reminds of the days of 'Soul On Ice', but then on a more gangsta level, with his mind set on girls, clubs and chips. This is all reflected in enjoyable club tracks like 'Flood' and the smashing 'More' ('Thanks Capital Records and charge that to Chingy') but also in annoying gangsta anthems like 'Put Ya Glass Out' and 'U Ain’t Me'. But those two songs are really the only minor points on the record. The collaboration with E-40 'Write Where I Left Out' is production-wise very strong, 'No Love' is a straight anthem and radio hit, with so much anger displayed in his lyrics it’s heavenly ('When Flex drop a bomb, Bin Laden drop a plane'). 'Slap Season' is straight comedy, 'Life And Bullshit' is old-fashioned soul-infused hip-hop, 'We Run The Streets' is an appealing West Coast anthem with an infecting soul chorus and an uplifting Snoop sample goin 'Now as the sun rotates and my game grows bigger, how many bitches wanna fuck this nigga?'

Well, no one really wants to fuck with Ras Kass nowadays, because his game is bigger but with that he has found his lyrical consistency and sharp punchlines from back in the days. Prison has toughened up not only who he is, but also what he raps.

POSTED ON 02|19|2006 by cpf

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