Friday, October 26, 2007

Hell Rell - "For The Hell of It" - Diplomat Records/Koch Records (2007)

The latest release from the Dipset camp, Hell Rell’s “For The Hell of It” (Diplomat Records/Koch Records, 2007) does much to uphold the street aesthetic that the
Diplomats are known for yet little to continue with the commercial flirtation that some members (ie. Cam’ron, Jim Jones) have enjoyed in recent time. Don’t expect “Ballin’ Pt.
2” on this record, just brace yourself for Dipset’s standard bombastic production coupled with grimy, hard-hitting rhymes courtesy of Hell Rell, who sounds like he has a bone to pick with the rap game on this, his long-awaited solo disc.
Based on the cover art alone for this album (Rell looks like he sees his dentist Dr. FullClip twice a year for regular checkups), you know you are in for some typical Dipset street anthems with an added dose of malice. On album opener “Intro”, Hell Rell boasts over a panicky instrumental, “I don’t get high no more/I smoke for the smell of it/Money just a hobby/N**** get it for the hell of it!”
“Streets Gonna Love Me” is reminiscent of Cam’ron’s 2002 hit “Oh Boy”, as Rell paints a picture, over a high pitched soul sample, of the bittersweet relationship he has with the streets that don’t reciprocate the love he has for them, “It’s funny that/I love the streets/But they on’t love me back.”
Rell invites a few guests to help add some menace to this already gritty album, including Styles P, Young Dro as well as Dipset alums Cam’ron, JR Writer and Juelz Santana. Absent from the album is Dipset “capo” Jim Jones, which seems to reinforce rumours about a widening divide between Jimmy and the rest of the Diplomats fam.
“I’m The S***” featuring Killa Cam, is one of the album’s standouts with Rell and Cam spitting over this car rattler that sounds like a jam session between a ghostly choir and the devil playing the drum kit.
Rell wraps things up smoothly near the end, with “Where You From” featuring Juelz, where over a laidback, soul-drenched beat, Rell gives thanks and praises to his Harlem crew that gave him time to shine in one of rap’s most interesting collectives, “Before I run off in the sunset/I f*** with a few things/But I’m only loyal to one set!”
After numerous mixtapes and guest appearances, it is nice to hear Rell stretched out over a long-player with no gimmicks, annoying DJ catchphrases and skits; just tight production and strong rhymes. This offering makes a strong case for Rell to receive a quick promotion within the Dipset ranks from a street soldier to at least a lieutenant. Hey Jimmy, what do you think?

Rating: 7.5/10

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