How twisted can one mister be? Ask Mr. Complex, or “Twisted Mister,” the punch-first, ask questions later New York emcee, who doubles as an actor/production assistant in Hollywood in his spare time.
What works well for Complex is his personality, a multi-tiered layer of a man who can flip an incredible punchline at one moment and literally flip his lid the next, leaving listeners confused at times as to where he hopes to land in the spectrum of hip-hop. Still, what fails Plex is his tendency to sometimes be overly twisted but unoriginal, lending to several records that just blatantly do not fulfill any new ground in the world of hip-hop.
The Hollywood Complex, one with a vivid enough imagination to tell the tale of “380 Lady,” sounds interesting enough to catch the ear of college frat boys and twisted enough to end tracks, sometimes literally, with a bang. His storytelling efforts of “380” and “Director’s Cut” prove to listeners that he has hung around some action-packed movie sets, where his mind must have wandered into the world of awesomely-wild screenwriting.
The hip-hop Complex creates the Large Professor-produced “No Turning Back,” a simple boom-bap effort from both, where Plex threatens, “You pop a lot of ish ‘cause I’m far away, But today, I’m right around your way, And hey, I’m just confirming that junk you say, And I’ll knock your tooth out like tooth decay!” Later, the Evidence-produced “No Brainer,” which also features Dilated Peoples, has Plex demanding, “What I want you to do is kinda ill, Turn to the cat next to you and bust his grill, Reach in his pocket and grab some dough, And high-tail your ass to the record sto’!” Both hard-hitters showcase a controlling Plex at his best, full of a personality and vibrancy not often seen from New York emcees.
Several guest appearances also help carry Plex above the average New York Joe, as De La’s Dave reaches out on “Emotional,” Pharoah Monch steals the “Scream Scream” show, and a relaxed Vast Aire urges Plex to “Calm Down.” Even the hilarious “Plex Goes Hollywood” skit features the always-uplifting funnyman Will (a.k.a. Ill Will!) Ferrell.
Still, when Complex falters, he tends to twist himself up too thin into an emcee of mediocrity that knowingly attacks stale topics. The lack of creativity on the sex tales of “Scrape Your Back Out” and the waste of a Biz Markie appearance on “Glue” are hardly top-notch efforts and could have been done with more of the Plex flair that makes him so universal at times.
Mr. Complex is a man of many trades – emcee, actor, producer, production assistant – who befittingly can assume himself to be one of very few “twisted misters” in the world of hip-hop. Unfortunately, spreading himself too thin at times makes for a less interesting twist on some of the same old stories in hip-hop. And that is a twist that any could spell disaster for almost any emcee, mister.