Virtuoso - WWII: Evolution of the Torturer      
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written by Christopher “Scav” Yuscavage    
Hip-hop did not vote for George W. Bush this past election – that much is clear enough. But if hip-hop had its way, not only would Dubya not have been elected, he probably would have been on the ballot somewhere at the bottom of the list beneath candidates “Hell No” and “Get The F Out Of Here.” Don’t believe that? Just ask Virtuoso and his sophomore effort, “WWII: Evolution of the Torturer.”

“My leader’s name is another word for pu—y,” Virtuoso concedes on “Military Intelligence,” where him and fellow Massachusetts emcee Akrobatik take the roles of military weapons and intelligence. If Bush was looking for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, he was looking in the wrong place, as the duo cleverly insert their own well-thought out lines ripping him for everything from the war in Iraq to the lack of funds spent on finding cures for A.I.D.S.

“I’m out for presidents to represent me, And I ain’t talking about Bush, He got paper ‘cause his family is crooks,” Virtuoso continues on the more soulfully done “Two” (featuring Rise & Shine). Bush is not alone here though, as Virtuoso verbally assaults everyone from those who voted for Bush to those who put their faith in the media to those that criticize Grand Theft Auto video games but support war.

Virtuoso saves his best for the controversial “Fahrenheit 911” though, which (alert Michael Moore!) could have easily doubled as the lead single from the movie of the same name’s soundtrack. The slow droning violins cannot drone out the raw and passionate feelings of distrust and anger from Virtuoso and guest Slaine, as the two create something so poetic and forthright that it’s almost a shame this did not hit before the election.

Still, the most appealing thing about Virtuoso is that, beyond his political views, affiliations, and strong feeling of responsibility, he is a hard-hitting and powerful emcee, who like another rapper from a similar mold (*ahem* Saigon), creates tracks that are as important as they are catchy – thus the message hits its target better than the typical “Vote for Kerry” emcee this November.

Scattered amongst the rubble of George W. Bush are several non-politics tracks, including the very Canibus-like “Man of the Hour,” where Virtuoso sticks to spitting regular braggadocio for an astounding 8 minutes (all without hardly a gasp of air!). And the Brooklyn-Oakland-Cambridge connection runs away with “On The Run,” a quick-paced production featuring Del and Jaz-O.

His only miscue may be the excusable “A Pound A Day,” his own personal smoke-a-thon, which, unfortunately, follows up the incredible “Fahrenheit” track and ruins the mood for a moment of time. But probably any track could have failed at that position, so why not go out in a “blaze” of glory?

Move over, Jadakiss and “Why.” While other emcees were standing around asking light-hearted questions with one or two political phrases, Virtuoso damn near calls the president out on everything from starting a war to leaving the toilet seat up. And the end result is an election of a different kind. Which rapper went after Bush the best? One vote…for Virtuoso.

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