It's hard to take a group with a name like Po Millionaires seriously. And it's even harder to ponder an album called We Got These Million Dollar Thoughts But We Still On Broke without thinking that the entire set must be a joke.
But with the frenzied energy of "First Day of Camp," a track embellished with a luscious guitar lick that sounds as if it were siphoned from the Mission: Impossible score, these local upstarts immediately assert that they're no laughing matter.
Produced almost en-tirely by Andre "Such- N-Such" Foster, this de-but bangs hard with abrasive funk and hypnotic grooves. The funk-heavy sound is a nice change of pace from the slow-as-syrup bass lines and obligatory odes to champagne and the high life usually associated with Southern rap. On the eponymous cut, "Po Millionaires," PM flexes the kind of hungry confidence missing in almost all rap of late. Although PM's delivery is a bit gruff, the thoughtful lyrics and hardened soundscape recall an earlier era when words actually mattered. "Shine Like Mine," for example, finds a reflective PM creeping through a sinister piano riff while blasting would-be ballers with this chorus: "Playas wanna ball / But we can ball too / Y'all hoes 'bout to fall / When we crawl through / Twinkin' and turnin' corners / Piece and chain gotcha blind / Yeah you got a Rolex / But ain't no shine like mine."
With a few exceptions, PM makes good on its quest to become a legitimate contender in the saturated Third Coast rap market. Only time will tell, though, if the group can build on its promising start. If so, they may be able to drop the "Po" from their moniker. After all, considering their humorous handle, it would be only fitting for the Millionaires to get the last laugh -- all the way to the bank.