With the release of The Leprechaun, local MC Lil' Flip proves there's more than one way to win these real-life Survivor games. Call him the anti-Richard Hatch. Unlike that flabby, effete, naked bastard -- unlike even all these H-town rappers who talk about how mighty a playa they are, gaining wealth by being sociopathic thugs -- Flip has survived the game by being extravagant, not ruthless. He knows nothing charms the fellas and ladies more than being an enviable MC who appreciates the finer things in life. (It's the whoever-has-the-most-toys-wins theory.)
In his debut, The Leprechaun, Flip's ghetto-fabulousness reaches Felliniesque heights. There's hardly a verse that doesn't have him commenting on how phat he's living. On "Y'all," he makes such declarative statements as "I'm the first young playa in H-town with platinum teeth / I'm the black Richie Rich with the brain of Master P." (With P's recent financial woes, it would be wise if Flip didn't put himself in the same company.)
Referring to himself as "Da Freestyle King," Flip prides himself on being an MC who doesn't need no stinkin' lyrics to bust out a tune. ("I ride candy red on Yokohamas / I get head from your baby's momma" is one of his more memorable ad-libs.) But he still works better when he has prepared stuff in front of him, even more so when the prepared material has him verbally sparring with regional pros.
He trades riffs with the suddenly omnipresent South Park Mexican on the low-riding "Put Yo Fist Up." "On Point" is a bass-bountiful track that schemes and dreams with Big James. Flip even adds some lines to the otherwise bump-and-grind R&B number "Boxers," a takeoff on Adina Howard's cult hit "T-Shirt & Panties," this one performed by salacious singing trio Deep Threat. There is also a bonus CD that includes several improvised screwed tracks, obviously created by the late DJ Screw, mixes that give the album an unexpected poignancy.
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The Leprechaun is what most folks would call a competent rap album, not spectacular or astounding, but something that could be bumped in most cars without the slightest hint of disapproval from any of the vehicle's passengers. It may sound like he's bragging about shit he probably doesn't have, but Lil' Flip, the Walter Mitty of local rap, gives all the daydreaming brothas a glimpse of the better tomorrow. It's only a game, but in the case of Lil' Flip, it's a game well played.