Slim Thug: Boss of all Bosses

The chief criticism of Slim Thug's 2005 debut LP, Already Platinum, was that with a majority of the tracks' production credits going to the Neptunes, he had wandered too far away from his fan base. Objectively, the album was solid — "I Ain't Heard of That" remains ones of his best songs ever — but, silly as it may be, his listeners were left feeling a bit abandoned by the very progression those outside of the South beg of "our" artists. There is no such offense on follow-up Boss of all Bosses. Slim pounds through a magnanimously Southern swell on the title-track opener and bares his hurt on the Devin the Dude-accompanied "Bitch, I'm Back." He shines on the efficacious "Associates," a Z-Ro-aided track that sees Thugga recall the loner grit that made last year's "Call My Phone" so enjoyable, and plays a solid No. 2 to Scarface on "Hard." There are a couple of missteps — most notably, "My Bitch," which is cut from that goofy cloth that assumes women take pride in being called "my bitch" (tip: they don't) and "Show Me Love," a track that the inane Mannie Fresh almost single-handedly dismantles. Still, in its entirety, Boss... is somewhere between good and very good. One can only hope those tiddlywinks up North have pilfered our talent pool for the last time.

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