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A War To Restore
Artist: Dirt / Shadow of the Locust
Label: Syntax Records
Length: 17 tracks at 61:05 minutes

Shanghai Burning

Hip-hop artist Dirt came up from the streets of San Diego about seven years ago and has developed a following by opening for bands like POD, KRS-One, and Cypress Hill. He has also been featured on various releases as well as his own record. Like the music of Mos Def, Method Man and Wu-Tang Clan, Dirt has a raw East Coast vibe that comes via a West Coast mind.

Dirt has been growing in popularity for a few years now with some help from his friends in the hard rock scene as well as the hip-hop community including this disc's producer, Jesse Sprinkle (from Poor Old Lu). Although I hate to say it, Sprinkle was the wrong choice for producer. Although the latest Dirt CD certainly offers lots of low-end boom for the buck, I don't really like his alternative and industrial touches. The record is noisy in some places for no reason and the flow of the CD is sporadic under an alternative, mostly minimalist hip hop.

Dirt writes very Christian lyrics; his rhymes are full of Biblical references. On the first single and video off the CD, "Shanghai Burning," he says that if you don't know scripture, "you can't get in it." One of my favorite lines from the disc is " these lyrics from the Dead Sea Scrolls." But I wouldn't pay much attention to that when deciding whether or not to let my non-Christian friend hear this joint, they'll dig the grooves, and the phat beats are mostly captivating.

Dirt has a bit of an angry delivery with a slyly implied smile throughout, however, not quite enough sense of humor shows through where it counts. For example, there is a  Hendrix rip off of "Hey Joe" with some nice guitar work beneath a "Hey Dirt" lyric squeezed in-between a couple of tracks, but without the humorous comments that should be sprinkled in here, I'm wondering if I'm laughing at him or with him.

The CD does have some problems, but there is still lots to like. This release shows an abundance of potential so lets hope next time hits on all cylinders.

Tony La Fianza 12/20/2000



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