Call me cynical, but when someone approaches me and offers up a review copy of a CD unavailable in stores, the first thing I think is, "How many different ways is this going to suck?" However, I'd just seen Chopper, L.S. perform "one for the ladies" titled "Baby What Up?" at O'Mallys. Rough and romantic, like Petey Pablo mixed with a little LL Cool J, Chopper (the L.S. stands for "light-skinned") has a commanding stage presence, which intrigued me enough to listen to his CD. Good thing. The twentysomething lyricist's album has a depth and range that belie his youth. Actually, it's his second album, the first being Chop City (available at Circles), a 2002 effort full of thuggish braggadocio. In Chop's World, Chopper's still on "a natural-born hunt, for the things that I want," but his delivery and style are playful, the beats and production slick and professional. Chopper keeps it real, and speaks knowingly of the strife in his community. But his message is generally one of hope, as he raps about everything from sex and partying to religion and street drama, with ease. Now that's a CD worth purchasing -- though for the time being, you'll have to catch Chopper in the club to do so.
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