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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    B.A.R.S. The Barry Adrian Reese Story

    It’s been a while since the public has heard from the Cass. Barry Adrian Reese, better known to his fans and the industry as Cassidy, is back (set with his cup of Patron) and in full effect, following a stint in correctional and a near-fatal accident.

    With these experiences behind him and fueling his new efforts, Cassidy releases ‘B.A.R.S.: The Barry Adrian Reese Story,’ which ought to be a more mature and refined work.

    It ought to be, but it isn’t. One would think that at this point in the narrative, Cassidy would set himself apart from the rest of the game, but instead he entrenches himself more than ever into what has become hip-hop pop and cliche. It’s sad because with his skills he could be so much more than just evidence that things need to change.

    Cassidy, on 2005’s ‘I’m a Hustla,’ said ‘My one-liners make rhymers need Tylenol.’ The same holds true two years later, but not in the way he wanted. Although his one-liners are always on point, this album will flat out give the listener a headache.

    From start to finish, this album is a confusing, contradictory, and ultimately frustrating work that, when one looks at what people seem to want, won’t even surprise. Cassidy just makes the obvious choices that no doubt will make his paper.

    Start off with ‘Intro: B.A.R.S. vs. Da Hustla.’ Here, Cassidy sets the stage for his new album while building a sense of progress. He begins the work in exactly the same way he started off ‘I’m A Hustla,’ a freestyle of the kind that made him notorious underground between two of his personas.

    Much of it, however, leaves the head spinning, it does do a good (if perverse) job of making the listener want to hear where the rest of the album goes. Where does it go? Nowhere.

    Disregarding the single ‘My Drink N’ My 2 Step,’ which is three minutes and 12 seconds of all of 15 words, with ‘Where My N****z At,’ a mere two tracks later, Cassidy proves that spouting rhymes about guns and bloodshed gets an artist nowhere. Yet everyone does just that.

    Keep listening. Cassidy goes on at length to talk about how he’ll never snitch in ‘I Will Never Tell (Uh Uh),’ one of the much weaker tracks on the album, only to make a complete 180 to show off his relationship with God, his block, and his world.

    Pause and think. How does saying you’re a gangster not afraid of shooting and killing translate into praying for the well-being of your family and loved ones (‘I Pray’)? How on Earth do you justify your words and actions by saying ‘I’m just from the ‘hood’?’ (‘Innocent Man’)? And yet Cassidy continues this pseudo-schizophrenic way of telling his story throughout.

    Regardless of how good the beats produced by the likes of Swizz Beatz, Hi-Tek and Kanye West are, they don’t make up for the words. Songs like ‘Damn I Miss the Game’ and ‘Leanin’ On the Lord’ insult the listener and the rapper, and they offer nothing new to the genre. What’s more, they do nothing to hide the fact that Cassidy is doing precisely what’s expected of his as an entertainer, which is all the more irritating.

    To quote student Richard Montero, ‘It’s nothing I haven’t heard before, and I’ve heard way better.’ This album is so unabashedly industry, it borders on parody. The depth Cassidy tries to convey by showing his ‘Split Personality’ is paper-thin and, at this point, shouldn’t fool anyone.

    Cassidy’s a good rapper, full of punch lines, confidence, and potential, but set him beside Rakim and Nas, and one sees the ignorance and hypocrisy in much of what he says. All you need is one line: ‘My nickname should be diarrhea how I run this shit.’ Good line. Sh*tty everything else.

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