Co$$, Before I Awoke

Nate Patrin

By Nate Patrin

on 07.11.11 in Reviews
Delivered with a tough, thoughtful panache

While Los Angeles’s gangsta and backpack rap scenes weren’t as divided as Dre’s “no medallions, dreadlocks or black fists” declaration made it seem in the early ’90s, Blu & Exile affiliate Co$$ stands astride whatever line people might draw between them. His G-funk bonafides are claimed early in “Khakis & Taylors” — “raised on Snoop, Ice Cube and them knuckas with a temper.” But there’s also a fair share of introspection and soul-searching (“Risen”; “Scriptures”), all of it delivered with a tough, thoughtful panache. And with a production lineup that includes somber but deep-hitting beats from Exile (“Da Meanest”; “Pot Ash”), J83 (“In the Wind”; “When I Feel”), and Fonetik Symbol (“Spaceman”; the Blu & Sene teamup “Born Again”), the sounds simultaneously stir up memories of ’92 and the blunted funk futurism of turn-of-the-tens L.A.