Onyx's Sticky Fingaz Erases the Line Between Movies and Music on Black Trash

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This is how Sticky Fingaz?a member of the multi-platinum, darkly humorous and very much more hardcore than you could ever possibly hope to be rap group Onyx?explains his Universal solo debut. "I'm erasing the lines between movies and music," he says on the company's press release. "This album is like one big movie."

The concept is not totally unknown: composer Ennio Morricone proved to be quite a dab hand at doing the same during the 60s (he did have a head start, admittedly, since he was scoring actual films) and every second album released on a Chicago label by a bunch of rich white dilettantes appears to be the soundtrack to an imaginary crappy and seedy French picture from the 70s. Closer to home, the Mercury Music Award-nominated debut album from Alison Goldfrapp, Felt Mountain, is distracting 21st-century noir visions mixed with Brechtian cabaret, and pictures of idyllic pastures spring into your mind unbidden. Wu-Tang Clan, and most of their members' solo offerings during the 90s, were, if not erasing the line between movies and music, certainly erasing the line between darkly Satanic and richly rewarding comic books and music. Whatever. If Sticky Fingaz says it's his role to erase the lines between movies and music, then that's his damn role. You won't see me arguing.

So guess what types of movie and music Sticky Fingaz wants to blur the lines between? That's right. Sticky's concept album is a "dark audio drama" that follows the ups and downs in the life of one ex-convict Kirk Jones as he falls back into a life of crime after leaving jail. Yes, there is plenty of gunfire. Yes, there is plenty of swearing. Yes, there are certainly a whole cell load of "bitches." Here's what Black Trash sounds like: fast, furious, police sirens wailing everywhere, atmospheric breaks on the keyboard and strings that sound like a cross between the all-pervasive sound of the Clan, the soundtrack to Psycho and something lifted from Fried Green Tomatoes. Throughout is Sticky's thick rasp of a voice, hostile, intimidating and never silenced. Here's what Black Trash sounds like: "25 stitches above my dick to prove it"; "My dogs are my fucking guns": "Keep down bitch"; "I kill you niggers"; "Right now, got this money, got this pussy, got this power"; "Fuck man"; "Nigger, you trying to front on me"; "fuck you bitch", etc. etc.

Sure, there are some stand-out tracks?the surreal schizophrenia of "Oh My God," where Kirk starts arguing with the Almighty voice in his head, the centerpiece show trial "State Vs Kirk Jones" with its honkytonk rolls on piano, and well-timed guest appearances from Redman, Canibus, Scarred 4 Life and pals. Most of this CD, though, is Just Another Gangsta Rap Album, no different from, no more and no less entertaining, than previous. Sure, it's better than the Notorious B.I.G. But who isn't?

"I'm trying to make it harder for corny albums that aren't creative, with lyrics about guns and thugs, to be put out," explains Sticky. Oh, so that's all right then.

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