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EVEN though Los Angeles has long been renowned for the gangster rap music of N.W.A, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and others, the L.A.-based Alkaholiks have sustained a successful decade-plus career by releasing top-tier braggadocio rap that focuses on fun and partying. The trio of Tash, J-Ro and E-Swift continues its stellar streak on a strong fifth album (due Tuesday).
Virtually all of the album's 16 songs contain high levels of energy, as each Alkaholik stuffs his lyrics with clever phrasing and delivers them with a wide variety of engaging styles. It's almost as if the members are having an unofficial competition to have the most advanced and humorous lyrics. Devotees and champions of rap history, the three infuse the LL Cool J-inspired "Turn It Up" and the Boogie Down Productions-like "Drink Wit Us" with more rap references than a Dave Chappelle stand-up routine.
Indeed, the group's lyrical wit and its ability to include memorable pop culture references in its music are two of its biggest selling points. Musically, the festive beats provided by E-Swift, Danger Mouse and others complement Tha Alkaholiks' lyrical modus operandi, resulting in a rare modern-day rap album that is as fun as it is good.
Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent). The albums are already released unless otherwise noted.