Various Artists

Bumpivity (Chop Shop Records)

The Chop Shop Renegades "The Blue Pill Experience" at Club XO Every Thursday
The first word that comes to mind when skimming through this album is "range." Showcasing the entire Chop Shop Records family, Bumpivity turns its back on all the gang-bangin' and ballin' that's prevalent on so many local releases in favor of something a little smarter and sexier. The glue that holds it all together is the slightly off-kilter and daring production of the Talented Mr. Ripley and the Nafarious Dr. Primo, who ably keep the nine MCs known as the Chop Shop Renegades properly in check.

Lyrically, Bumpivity is almost as on-point as its production, though there is the occasional misstep. The deep, personal lyrics delivered by ASJ Islam on "What If" can get away with the obligatory reference to Tupac, but not the very next cut, "That's the Game." This danceable track is already reminiscent of Digital Underground, so the Pac reference reeks of overkill (the Notorious B.I.G. sample didn't help, either). This aside, does Chop Shop represent? Yes. There are enough Cleveland shout-outs crammed into this disc to choke Mike White -- who, by the way, gets a Chop Shop shout. The name-dropping is occasionally funny, though. Ask MC Brains.

All told, Bumpivity does a decent job of illustrating the Shop's creativity and breadth, swinging from the storytelling style of "White Lady" to the poetic ghetto romantic vibe of "Inner Blaze" to the hard rock sound of "Stress." The album's only glaring weakness is its lack of catchy hooks. This, in the end, makes identifying a standout, favorite track difficult. But then again, maybe that's the point.

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