Review Summary: Can-I-Bus stinks.
Canibus has been and still is a mystery in hip hop. At one time, he was perceived as one of the most lyrically lethal rappers in the hip hop scene and because of this gained an enormous amount of hype. While he was being hyped, Canibus got a big feature on a song with LL Cool J, Method Man, Redman, DMX, and Master P. During the recording of the song, Canibus apparently made a line that LL Cool J took offense to, and Canibus was order to change his line or else he was off the song. He complied, but then LL wrote a comeback line to Canibus', and despite Canibus’ commands, he did not remove it from the song. This started a beef between the two rappers and, ultimately, the final straw before Canibus released his debut album Can-I-Bus
. This was, sadly enough, a horrible mistake.
is where Canibus seemingly lost his star status and rather quickly faded away from the public eye. The first major problem with the album is its lack of accessibility, which is mostly due to the lack of decent production. The production reeks of old and stale technique, the album is produced like an old rock record. It’s muddy, it’s weak, and it’s plain embarrassing for any modern hip hop producer. This leads me to another problem with the album in the accessibility department; the beats. For hip hop albums, the beats on the album are the main musical element of the work, and if they’re bad, well, you’ve got a bad musical backing. The beats on Can-I-Bus
seem to lack any sort of memorable tune or groove, and they sort of just plod themselves along just to make it to end of the songs. Songs like “Get Retarded” use musically diluted sample after musically diluted sample. The diss single “Second Round K.O.” is the major exception. “Second Round K.O.” uses a opera sample, and sort of mutes it in a way to make it sound ghostly. The ghostly voices in the background aren’t really scary so to speak, but they do provide an excellently haunting atmosphere to the song.
The biggest positive about Can-I-Bus
is Canibus’ renowned lyrical ability. His wordplay is, for the most part, very clever and witty. He experiments with words and tries to make similes or metaphors of them, and for the most part they work. However, the major problem with his lyricism is that he mostly battle raps this way on the record, and while it is enjoyable for maybe the first few moments, it can easily start to bore the listener. In his later career, Canibus would try to revert his ways a little and become a bit more of a true lyricist and story teller; he would never leave behind his battle rapping days. Ironically enough, the best track on the album is the diss track “Second Round K.O.”, as it shows his true strengths and applies them to actually dissing, in this case, of LL Cool J. Throughout the song he rips and tears at LL’s career with references of Mr. Cool’s life and with Canibus’ art of similes. It is truly a song to remember.
” I’ll let you kick a verse, *** it, I’ll let you kick em all
Ill even wait for the studio audience to applaud [cheers]
Now watch me rip the tat from your arm
Kick you in the groin, stick you for your vanguard award
In front of your mom your 1st, 2nd and 3rd born
Make your wife get on the horn call minister Farrakhan”
And this is where the fame went down the toilet. Fans didn’t like the album for many of the reasons that this review has stated and possibly more, and had given up on their hero Canibus. Canibus would later rightfully blame his producer Wyclef Jean and would officially break ties with him. Canibus would take a break for two whole years before coming up with a whole new record that would fail commercially, but would gain some critical acclaim. Can-I-Bus
is a failure in every sense of the worse, and should be avoided unless you are truly a Canibus fanboy and, in that case, dig in.
“Second Round K.O.”
“I Honor U”