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Dogs From Tha Land (Strong Arm Entertainment)

Dogs From Tha Land is the musical equivalent of a Stallone movie: jam-packed with so much sex, violence, and liquor that you'd be ashamed to admit that you like it.

But you will. New subject matter? Nope. Positive messages? Nada. Radio friendly? Yeah, right. Dogs is the CD that little suburban girls hide in the jewel box underneath their Britney Spears disc, to keep Mom and Dad from knowing the truth -- which is that, sometimes, mindless entertainment just works.

With such proven MCs as Tom Gotti, 71 North, Dominator, and Suave Gotti, this crew definitely represents. Local heads will bang the cut "Represent C-Town" until their ears bleed -- though merely repeating some of the vulgar lyrics in public might provoke a pepper-spray attack. Unfortunately, this joint is so single-mindedly focused on Cleveland, the sentimental references will have little meaning elsewhere. Remove these, and what's left are the beats, which are strong enough to transcend the borders that the lyrics can't.

The solid production work is handled primarily by Battle Axe, whose West Coast-influenced style is prominent on the majority of Dogs' 17 cuts. Indeed, "Stay on Yo Hustle," produced by Jazzmarc of UHB fame, is the only track not touched by Axe. Both danceable and bangin,' Dogs is technically sound and musically elaborate without being repetitive. The transitions from mellow rider cut to street anthem are smooth, helping the album sound like a big-budget release.

Ultimately, you'll need a strong stomach to digest this blood-soaked collection. And that's OK. This disc is meant to exercise your ass, not your mind.

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