Houston Music

T.H.E. FLY and Rooster: The Smoke CD

As we all know, rappers do not lie. They're like the George Washingtons of the music industry. But when T.H.E. FLY and Rooster say they're destined to be bigger than Thriller during "Mphatigo" on their latest LP, The Smoke CD, we tend to believe they could be, shall we say, overstating their case.

There are too many missteps here (see "Wreckin'"), too many A-B-A-B raps (see "Travelin'"), to make a claim as grandiose as that. Mike did have that whole indecency-with-a-child thing, so the duo comes out ahead in that department, but that's about where the one-upmanship of Jacko ends for T.H.E. FLY and Rooster.

Not that there are no enjoyable parts of The Smoke CD. "Superman," an eerie piano and crispy bass track that almost revisits some early Wu-Tang work, is the CD's clear standout. Also, "Hittin' Yo City" is a charmingly unsophisticated horn tune that makes you forget you're listening to a Houston artist. And how can you not appreciate guys who've dubbed themselves Scrilla Gorilla or ThighMaster and imprinted "WARNING: ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, BITCHES" on the CD cover art?

But bigger than Mike? Maybe Jones.

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Shea Serrano