After being in and out of the rap game for more than 10 years, Apaso’s return in late 2009 marked a new, more serious period for the SA rapper. Illaments is the work of a veteran now coming into his own. Apaso casts himself as a mirror of his colleagues and neighbors in SA, but not always to great effect. On “4 Da 210” he delivers clumsy braggadocio over two minutes of skeletal piano and a lazy drum beat. While sonically the tune is a nice homage to Pharcyde circa Labcabincalifornia, Apaso’s delivery isn’t compelling enough for such stripped-down theatrics and the overdone subject matter. He’s better when he’s conceptualizing a topic he deems more kindred, as on “Necio Flow.” Here, he’s alliterative and staccato, allowing the intra-line rhymes to pile up like a highway accident. Something similar happens on “Sleeping Giants,” where he engages recent problems facing Latin Americans in Arizona, but allows guest emcees to take over just as he’s about to pose solutions. In sum, there’s more good than bad here, making for a promising debut. But next studio session, Apaso needs to stick to topics that stoke his passions.
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