As the lone Mississippi rapper with a major-label deal, David Banner
(formerly of Crooked Lettaz
) has a lot to prove, even after his 2000 solo debut became a critical success. Mississippi: The Album
is a very schizophrenic record, alternating a parade of one-note thug tracks ("F*** 'Em," "What It Do") with more reflective material concerned with the realities of down South living ("Mississippi," "Cadillac on 22's"). No matter the situation, Banner
's an excellent rapper, capable of moving from hoarse, harsh, in-your-face rants to fluid speed raps with no trouble (or change in quality). The productions are top-drawer as well, most by the man himself, along with high-profile contributions from Lil' Jon
. Listeners may find it difficult to resolve the conflicts inherent in a character rapper who moves from rampant misogyny and ultra-violent behavior to more conflicted themes, but those willing to spend some time with Mississippi: The Album
will find it giving them much more than the average hardcore gangsta.