Artist: Fat Ray & Black Milk
In a day where hip hop albums, other than southern ones, are compilations of every region Black Milk and Fat Ray create an album that is true to their region. From the choice of guest features, all native to the mid-west, to the collective sound of the album is mid-western rap. Not the mid-western rap that Nelly and Twista popularized but the 8 mile movie type of mid-west rap that has the grit and grim of poverty written all over it.
The most appeasing part of “The Set Up” is that all the records sound similar. This shouldn’t be confused with all the beats sound the same and Black Milk and Fat Ray recycle their flows! The sound is that native mid-west gritty rhyme. The sound that was prevalent in early Mobb Deep records (you remember Hell on Earth) and was the basis of horror rap. While only the south is being true to its region Black Mile and Fat Ray change their stance and learn a little southpaw while not changing their unorthodox style.
“Nothing to hide” albeit a supposed ballad record shows that Mid-West grit with the baseline and the sampled looped melody. “Lookout” is by far the best production on the record while “Get focused” is the most lyrical although sporting one of the worst breaks in rap history. “Ugly” is a standard underground vs. mainstream record that seems to be prevalent on all underground records. “ rap is weapon nobody aiming it right/ fortune and fame is a vial torch and it burn you wit pains/….stop pushing the cane plus making it rain/ and doing fake shit just to get your face in the game”. Black Milk and Fat Ray didn’t even attempt to put a commercial song on their album. There is no song for the club nor a song to cater to women. Black Milk and Fat Ray threw rap a fastball when all its been doing is looking for curves. This might not translate into a hit but it should be agreed that this is that heat.
“The Set Up” is Black Milk and Fat Ray’s compilation but yet in still they found their niche your going to hear their voice! More Rap albums should be focused on one particular region as to not saturate rap. If I can get all the sounds around the country on one album along with grit and commercial why buy multiple albums? Black Milk and Fat Ray might have gone back on an old formula but the outcome is still splendid. With the region feel on this album they might have found a way to fix plummeting CD sales thus repairing our beloved hip hop.