Tha Liks

When the L.A.-based rap trio known as Tha Alkaholiks (which has apparently followed Snoop Dogg's lead and shortened its name in order to save time) dropped X.O. Experience last summer, some music enthusiasts were pissed -- not because of the likkered-up lyrical content these boys lacquered over every beat of their fourth album, but because they dared to reprise the album cover of Jimi Hendrix's sacred Are You Experienced?.

"How dare these 40-swilling hooligans desecrate the good name of Master Jimi?" a few fans cried out. C'mon, people. It's silly to cry foul over something like this. Hell, it could even be a harmless homage.

Lead man E-Swift does reprise another legendary Jimi pose in the CD booklet, but the Hendrix influence stops there. On the album, the three Liks continue to do what they do best, which is to be the most vocally versatile drunks they can be. (Although, if there were an award for that, Ol' Dirty Bastard would easily take the prize over them and Afroman.)

While they speak of alcohol like it's a magical elixir, they never sound completely under the influence. It helps that they have confident cats Rockwilder, DJ Scratch and DJ Twinz laying down the codependent beats and sparring partners Busta Rhymes and Xzibit keeping the boys on their toes. But, of course, like every album that came out last year, Experience's crown jewel is a track produced by the ubiquitous Neptunes. The track, "Best U Can," another "Shake Ya Ass"-esque ode to attention-getting sistas and their equally ambitious booties, was the first single from the album and introduced listeners to yet another "new" euphemism for oral sex: "You give good brain." (Or maybe it's not so new; Dr. John revealed in his autobiography that the "brain salad surgery" line from "Right Place, Wrong Time" that Emerson Lake & Palmer later lifted was old New Orleans slang for fellatio.)

We may never know if Hendrix would've approved of these guys' beer/blunt/booty-fueled rap ramblings, but it's comforting to see that contemporary performers like Tha Liks would bow to an artistic icon like Hendrix. If they really wanted to pay tribute to Hendrix, they should've re-created the cover from Electric Ladyland. Just picture it: a bunch of naked chicks hovering around Tha Liks. Hell, that seems right up their alley.

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Craig D. Lindsey
Contact: Craig D. Lindsey