Three years ago, Z-Ro, man turned machine turned man, released Crack, the first in his semi-appreciated "Drug Albums" series. And it was splendid; courageous, aggressive, ambitious, more. Nobody anticipated it then, but it ended up being the last time last time he allowed himself to sound vulnerable on a proper project. As such, it has aged like a mass murderer's legacy. Or wine. Whatevs. Well, it has aged well.
Following Crack was Cocaine in 2009 and then Heroin in 2010. The former was fun-not-great and the latter was generally uninteresting all the way around. Somebody pseudo-clever somewhere probably made some sort of remark about the correlation between taking too many drugs and them becoming less and less effective over time. Blah, blah, blah. People are uncreative with their disdain, but hoes gon' be hoes so you can't blame Tammy.
The meat, though: Be it because he'd become uninspired by some behind-the-scenes stuff with Rap-A-Lot or because he'd grown too tired to compete anymore was of no concern. His albums had gone limp. And all the world was turning to ash for it.
Then Meth appeared.
There was little to no promotion for it and little to no buzz beyond his immediate following. It just seemed a shitty start.
Then he was on the radio talking about how he'd not heard all of the songs that made the album (that happened, right?). Then the opening song turned out to be a souped-up version of a song from Heroin (listless retreads were what dogged that one, remember?). Then, then, then. The arch-villain looked cooked.
Then the smoke unfurled. And it became beautiful.
Meth, which totally might still be a "We'll Just Throw These Tracks Together How We Please" Rap-A-Lot hand job, largely features Ro in his sing-song promethazined boogie, a role he is officially beginning to hammer into legend (there might not be anybody on the planet better at it).
When he's not there, he's in Jungle Killer mode ("Ain't no love for none of y'all niggas, swear to God, fuck every one of y'all niggas, I wish I could murder every one of y'all niggas," he rat-a-tat's on "No Reason.") And when he's not there, he grumbles about whatever he feels like: Over a 12-second span on the country fried computerdom of "We Ride", he mentions reptiles, Bennigan's, rims and Twitter.
But all the time, he is effervescent. He is inspired. He is a rap Cyclops, tearing the limbs off tracks and eating Greeks and Romans at his leisure.
Meth is no less than his best project since Crack, and were it not for "Tired," arguably the most underballyhooed song in his mammoth songography, it'd be better.
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Z-Ro has risen and moved the stone from the opening of the cave.
Roel Osteen like a motherfucker.