Cex

Being Ridden (Temporary Residence)

Cex -- 21-year-old Baltimore baller Rjyan Kidwell -- dubs himself "the white Eminem." The claim, though witty, is inaccurate; he's the goyish Paul Barman. While Cex's live shows possess a Tenacious D air of ridiculousness, with a compulsive need to hassle chin-stroking IDM fans, on disc he comes off as an earnest overachiever who flaunts his suburban-white-boy steez.

On 2002's Tall, Dark and Handcuffed, Cex ditched his previous two albums' glitchy IDM for hip-hop, with dire results. Being Ridden continues Cex's infatuation with rapping, but this time he's come with better tracks that embrace acoustic folk, nerdy indie rock, laptop accents, flashy hip-hop beats, and Dre-style G-funk synths. The fresh combo of introversion and extroversion may not charm purists at The Source, but it could nudge some IDM shut-ins to explore hip-hop's brasher pleasures. Cex's rapping still ain't fly, though, so the concurrently released Being Ridden Instrumentals disc may be a better bet.