by: Baby Bash

In the years leading up to his 2007 release Cyclone, cool and collected rapper Baby Bash found himself a comfortable home somewhere between pop-rap and street-level rap and able to record with the likes of Jennifer Lopez while still being able to kick it with hood legend E-40. Cyclone features the hardcore ballers Pimp C and Mistah FAB on "Mean Mug," an exciting, hard cut tacked onto an overall polished and too safe album. Nowhere near as uncontrolled as its title suggests, Cyclone landed on its street date without an explicit version in sight. It's no big surprise Bash is being marketed to teen girls with his soft voice, soft looks, and love of words like "Bubbalicious," but the hardcore "Spreewells Spinnin'" with Chingo Bling sounds absolutely ridiculous with its 30 or so cuss words removed. Thankfully, the more pop moments come off much better. Lil Jon brings one of his identifiable and infectious beats for "Cyclone" with T-Pain, while "What Is It" features the island-flavored stylings of Sean Kingston and a rapid string of amusing one-liners from Bash. Working in numerous superhero references while trying to seduce a girl that's "fresh from Bath & Body Works" makes "Supa Chic" a highlight, and everything else is at least "good" with "Numero Uno" and "Na Na" both earning a solid B+. Problem is, Cyclone wants Justin Timberlake-sized sales so bad it sells short by half what makes Baby Bash interesting and ends up a pleasant diversion, but nothing memorable. ~ David Jeffries

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