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Shaun Harris x Bell Biv Cousteau: Shock G Calls Me Chris (Self-Released) 

Shaun Harris doesn't really have an agenda. He's not out to be the best rapper ever just to make a great album. Shock G Calls Me Chris isn't exactly art for art's sake; it's Harris' musings on whatever for art's sake. These seven songs play as a series of tweets that are part hilarious, part poignant and all relatable.

Harris' opening lines on Shock G Calls Me Chris are "Fuck Arizona ... why is Shaun Harris acting like a fuckin' prick?" But the song isn't particularly angry, maybe just slightly agitated. And that goes double for Harris in general. It seems like it would be hard to piss this guy off, and that is a quality that automatically makes him "harder," but I don't think that's what he's going for either. His voice combines the sound of the Notorious B.I.G.'s authoritative head cold and Ol' Dirty Bastard's insane asylum freakout, without the threat of either. He rarely follows rap conventions of diction or flow, and again that's to his credit.

On songs like "Bio" and "Eva Make," his laid-back storytelling is infused with enough clever humor to keep the listener engaged, but Shock G Calls Me Chris is far from all jokes. The lyrics are insightful.

The production, mostly by Bell Biv Cousteau, is equally traditional and innovative. The sparse beats and sly twists are fantastic, with the pinnacle being the EP closer "Bigger Than." And, as Harris muses on that song, "the universe is full of possibilities," much like Shock G Calls Me Chris itself.

More by Joshua Levine

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