Review Summary: All I ever wanted to do was just shine a little, bump and grind a little, and then recline a little…
Discussion of Guerilla Maab and Rise
inevitably revolves around future Houston legend Z-Ro, who, hot off of the release of Look What You Did To Me
, continues to be far more captivating than the other members of his crew; his characteristically earnest, revealing lyrics are the main attraction in terms of rapping. The regretful, distrustful gangster persona has become his bread and butter, but every member of the Maab has a similar style. At least on the best tracks, they all utilize expressive, quick-tongued deliveries to accentuate introspective, but not lugubrious lyrics.
The production is typical of a low budget 90s Houston release, replete with generic female hooks and cheap synthesized instruments. This is undoubtedly the greatest point of contention among listeners; some can tolerate this style and others cannot. The beats are almost kitschy, but a good match for the emotional vulnerability of the Maab. A dismal atmosphere pervades the album, one which highlights the personal, reflective lyrical style. There is no happiness to be found in their world, only the dry satisfaction of an independent life free from heartbreaking women and backstabbing friends. The world-weariness is palpable; accompanying every prayer for God’s help is the knowledge that it won’t be heard. The unity of the atmosphere and the lyrical content is the greatest asset the album has; this kind of focus and consistency of mood is quite uncommon in rap. Rise
is imperfect, perhaps even mediocre from an objective standpoint, but is admirable in the way it juggles emotional resonance and catchiness. Draining yet somehow infinitely replayable, Rise
is essential listening for any fan of the Houston rap scene.