Rotation: Lex One
Here's a hip-hop artist who knows how to poke fun at himself. Lex One doesn't seem to take life seriously on No Respect for Pedestrians, the shit-talking, party-rocking album from this Hollywood-based MC. The music here is reminiscent of early '80s comedy-style hip-hop from Biz Markie or Kool Keith — Lex takes on fat girls, ugly girls, horny girls, sluts, and every ex-girlfriend he can think of with his laughable verses on the album.
The beats start out strong, especially for the track "Shotgun," which blends a Clark Kent and Biggie Smalls hook with creepy violin strings to produce a standout song. Other gems like "I Go" featuring Live Kaos not only have sharp lyricism but innovative production underneath. Funny skits between the tracks keep things from getting monotonous.
At times, Lex One strays from the formula and ends up getting too self-indulgent as humor gives way to a dark emo vibe. Some of the sadder rhymes about ex-girlfriends and extended states of depression take the album in a macabre direction. The contrast between funny-as-hell rhymes and morbid poetry can be overwhelming. Overall, this album comes from the gut — and since nobody stays happy all the time, take NRFP as an audible example of life at its prettiest and darkest moments. - Jonathan Cunningham