Cassidy- B.A.R.S. (the Barry Adrian Reese Story)
Cassidy is known as one of the better young rappers today in terms of lyrics and battling. This is no mixtape artist however, thanks to the production and oversight of Swizz Beats, Cass has had several highly successful singles including Hotel, and the new smash single "Drink and my 2-step". This third album follows a stint in jail and a car accident that threatened his life.
Once again, Cass starts off the album battling himself just as he did on the last album, being this is what he is partially known for, I can deal with it. It's his thing so no one else needs to bite this idea and try to start their album this way. It also showcases a sort of issue with Cass, this entire split personality theme which he has been working since his first album. The one problem I have with that is that one of these personas isn't believable.
While Cassidy shows impressive lyrics in general, especially when compared to today's newer artists, thematically it seems he lacks ideas at times. Generic rap topics on "Will Never Tell" and "Where my Niggas At" are wastes of Cass's potential. In fact when you place these songs up against some of the others you have to wonder what songs he truly desires to write.
To understand you have to hear "Leanin on the Lord" where Cassidy weaves three cautionary hood tales into one compelling song. The stories themselves aren't new, but he is convincing as a story teller. "Damn I Miss the Game" is a strong song that would make a more powerful statement about the current age of hip-hop if Cassidy weren't one of the biggest reasons he has to make a song like this. Like many rappers today, Cass incorrectly assumes he can criticize the rest of the industry for the same things he is guilty of. That's what makes this so frustrating to listening to.
The glimpses of greatness elevate the album only to be let down by songs like "I get my paper" and "I pray" which lack personality. "Innocent" is a decent song that is driven by its hook and Cassidy doesn't do bad with Bone and Eve on "Cash Rulez".
The album is solid and it is tempting to rate it slightly higher but it is the believability of what Cassidy says. After his trial and car accident Cassidy publicly said he was going to change his style and some of his subject matter, this is a theme he repeats on the album however it is all empty promises. Too often Cassidy slips back into the comfort of average thuggery and dope dealing while claiming he doesn't shoot one second but he will kill in the next. It is these contradictions that ruin the effort that could be a classic. The bravado isn't as believable as a Beanie Sigel LP and feels like half-hearted attempts to do what is acceptable.