"Now there's a whole museum of Hov MCers/Everybody's dupin' the flow," Jay-Z bragged on "The Bounce," a cut from 2002's The Blueprint 2: The Gift & the Curse. Little did he know the museum wouldn't be shutting down anytime soon. A few years later, rapper/producer Shawn "MIMS" Mims would make the scene with "This Is Why I'm Hot," an ephemeral, hopscotching-through-various-rap-production-styles single; the accompanying album, Music Is My Savior, was essentially Jay-Z lite. Jay-Z and MIMS are both N.Y.C. natives; there's a possibility that the similarities in their rapping styles are purely geographical. But while a more confident artist might have done everything in his power to distinguish himself from Biggie Smalls' spiritual heir, MIMS seems hell-bent on turning himself into Jigga's creased carbon copy.
The flattery-by-imitation continues unabated on Guilt, where MIMS presents himself as a hardened gangsta. First single "Move (If You Wanna)," built on a distorted sample looped and re-looped on itself, finds our protagonist flaunting shopworn clichés to establish his dominance and ad libbing his name: "Love Rollercoaster" is a thematic retread of Pharrell and Kanye West's "Number One" — itself a rewiring of too many my-girl's-lonely-because-I'm-out-hustling b-sides to list here — peppered with "ah-ah-alrights" stolen from Jay-Z's "American Gangster." The rest — from "On and On" to "Makin' Money" — is similarly bland filler, which is saying something. If we were still living in the pre-file-sharing era, Guilt might serve to tide over those awaiting this summer's Blueprint 3 release — except that we aren't. — Ray Cummings
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