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Mac Mall and Mac Dre 

Da U.S. Open

Wednesday, May 25 2005
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The first release to feature Mac Dre since his murder last November is a collaboration with his one-time protégé and fellow Vallejo native Mac Mall. The MCs appear under two of their many aliases, Andre Macassi and Mall Macenroe, and like any great tennis match, the action is in the volleys. While Mall's aggressive style charges the net with semishouted rhymes, Dre counters by chillin' at the base line, lobbing effortless winners. The duo covers a lot of well-traversed territory -- mackin', pimpin', drugs -- but still manages a degree of originality. Mall's rough rhymes have an air of urgency about them, yet Dre's complex delivery (peppered with both original and regional slang) comes off sounding impossibly easy, especially over the laid-back bay funk that fills most of the album. On "Willingly," Dre reels off 16 bars of consecutive rhymes over a nylon guitar loop without breaking a sweat, and on the reggae-inspired "Murder I Wrote," the tongue-in-cheek Jamaican accents actually work. But the standout track is "Dredio," an updated version of Royalcash's 1983 electro classic "Radioactivity (Let's Jam)." This first-ever collaboration between Mac Dre and Vallejo legend E-40 has all the makings of a bay classic.

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Ross Viator

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