It has been a long time in the making for Capone. When CNN dropped their seminal debut The War Report, Capone was locked up and unable to reap the benefits. Upon his release, the duo dropped their follow up album, The Reunion, and the buzz for a Capone solo album built even more. But due to industry rule number 4080, Capone's project has been shelved and put on hold for nearly five years. Now with CNN heading their separate ways for a brief moment, Capone has gone the independent route to finally release his solo debut, Pain, Time & Glory (Fast Life Music). However, the long wait ultimately hinders Capone's performance, as he tries to appeal to every demographic in order to succeed.
With the South running the Hip Hop game at the moment, Capone unwisely tries to provide material that will bring in that crowd on Pain, Time & Glory. The generic drug tales of "Where The Stuff At" featuring C-Murder and Bun B is a blatant misstep, as Frank Nitty's synthesizer production and annoying sirens teeter on unbearable. "Fuck Yo Set" is another forced dirty South attempt that looks to get the clubs "crunk." "U So Craaazzzy" takes the formula one-step further, as The Screwface Music Group rips a page out of Trick Daddy's book by providing a Southern marching band backdrop. In addition, "I'm Gone" mixes the South and the West, as Devin The Dude and Butch Cassidy drop by for another uncharacteristic syrupy effort.
Only when Capone sticks to his roots is when Pain, Time & Glory resembles the album we expected. The Heatmakerz lace Capone with some tremendous work on the album, leaving listeners drooling for more. With an old western whistle floating through the backdrop and the Heatmakerz vintage drums, the album's "Intro" opens up the record perfect. On the standout track "Whats My Name (Soldier's Story)," the Heatmakerz provide an operatic effort similar to Cam'ron's "Killa Cam." But what would be a Heatmakerz beat without some chipmunk soul? "All 4 U" rekindles the tried and true formula, as Capone delivers a solid track for the ladies. Other songs such as "The Manual," "I'll Die For Mine," and "It's Been A Long Time," are also nice additions that succeed thanks to good production.
It's unfortunate that one of New York's grittiest street emcees succumbed to the pressure of trying to appeal to the Southern demographic. While Pain, Time & Glory offers some memorable moments, diehard CNN fans will walk away disappointed with the album's direction and poor beat selection.