Local Wire

Blaze Rock

It's rare for an artist coming up in today's rap game to release an album that's not quickly labeled pop rap, underground, or gangster, but the second solo project from Phoenix rapper Blaze Rock falls somewhere in between, defying easy categorization. With tracks produced by a variety of mostly local Southwest talent, the album struggles with consistency, because of some jarring changes in mood and style, but successfully showcases Blaze Rock's lyrical range throughout. Over slow and sultry beats in tracks like "Dusty Road," which features fellow local rappers J-Luv and 4Seen, Blaze Rock's singing skills shine over a soulful chorus, and his vocab proves meaningful and introspective in a rhyme about the struggle for success. In the animated "We Don't Care," a playful club banger similar to D-12's sound, he beefs up the C.L. Smooth delivery style and raps with a rugged inflection, almost as harsh as Xzibit, but lighter and not as angry. Blaze Rock produces two of the tracks himself, including "Enjoy Life by ROK," a slam poem set to a slow-hitting beat, while local producers Profound, D Treble, and Avalon contribute to the cross-cutting appeal in a trio of tracks with a Pete Rock feel.
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Ty Thompson