Local Wire

Juelz Santana

Whether he's repping the Taliban, dubbing himself "human crack in the flesh," or prefacing one of his many latently homosexual slip-ups with the transparently insecure caveat "no homo," Juelz Santana is brilliantly bad. During his second verse from "Mic Check," Santana sneezes, pauses, and declares, "God blessed me, yes that's true." It's a dare-to-be-stoopid sense of experimentalism that is enhanced by Santana's Pesci-esque panache that lets you know you shouldn't be laughing too hard -- that this is the silliness of a serial killer. So, is Santana really what the game's been missing? Maybe, but his album is mediocre. There are streaks of brilliance -- the surprising ballad "Your Thing," or the "Welcome to Jamrock" redux "Murda Murda," where Santana's mentor, the word-drunk Cam'ron, effortlessly whizzes through tongue-twisters such as "Santana bananas, clip banana wrapped in bandannas" -- but tracks such as "It's Like Clockwork" and "Make It Work for You" are humorless braggadocio, and ultimately boring. These songs -- as well as the current single, the "Wait (The Whisper Song)" wanna-be "There It Go (The Whistle Song)" -- are hampered by their Collipark-like production that doesn't suit Santana's terse NYC flow. Game isn't a dud, but it's not exactly Piff-worthy, either.