Adding the -est suffix to anything in the world of hip-hop can be a dangerous thing for an emcee. The hungri-est, the ill-est, even the b-est, often places high expectations and undue accolades upon a rapper who may not deserve the suffix in the first place. And, in this case, Yung Wun chooses to double-up the “-est” plague, forcing him to repeat an error twice that quickly comes back to bite him.
First receiving shine as a guest on Swizz Beatz’ “WWIII,” rapping alongside the likes of Jadakiss, Snoop Dogg, and Scarface, Atlanta rapper Yung Wun sustained a reputation of being aggressive and hungry on top of a beat. But with his J Records’ debut album, “The Dirtiest Thirstiest,” Yung Wun’s wild ‘n crazy antics can only last so long before listeners will wonder: Just what is in that Georgia water down there?
If the club-busting first single “Tear It Up” is any indication, Yung Wun, like his predecessor DMX, knows how to rock one hell of a party, as he is joined by X, Lil’ Flip, and David Banner in arguably one of the most jump-starting and rambunctious club joints of 2004. “Yung Wun Anthem” (featured in EA Sports’ “Madden 2005”) only reaffirms Yung Wun’s ability to ignite a riot, as he spits, “They all tryin’ to sound like ‘Pac, I don’t know why though, Sounding like ‘Pac is a position you shouldn’t try for, They don’t understand what he died for!”
But from there, the responsibility falls heavily upon Swizz Beatz to create similar sounding anthems, a task that unfortunately falls too far away from Swizz (who’s a little more comfortable sipping on the “Eastern Comfort” as opposed to the “Southern”) - and this quickly causes too many forced attempts on the part of Yung Wun. The gun-busting and toting lyrics remain aplenty, especially on “Load ‘Em Up,” where Yung grotesquely raps, “You can ask anybody who got the guts, n---a, I play around with big guns and f—k nuns on a daily basis, I bet you think I’m crazy.” Nuns? Yes, that sure is “crazy,” in an overstated, nightmarish sort of way.
The breezy “Cadillac Doors” entails a much softer and less-amped Swizz production, but didn’t another Southern group already sing about “slammin’ Cadillac doors” and do it a little more gracefully? And the formulaic “Walk Like It, Talk Like It” tries hard (probably too hard) to recreate the “Tear It Up” vibe and only ends up sounding like another typical Southern anthem (which also plagues “Represent” and “Georgia Waters”).
When Yung Wun decides to truly get down and make music though, the results are almost profound for an artist of his make-up. “Sad Song,” which contains a verse dedicated to his fallen grandmother, calms Yung and tells that “every ghetto has a sad story” over a much-subdued beat. More conscious heads prevail on “Starvin’ and Robbin’,” where Yung Wun begs for help for those caught up in a life restricted by poverty.
Occasional pleas from Yung Wun are not enough to disguise his lack of material on the microphone though, as “The Dirtiest Thirstiest” relies too much around the typical Southern sound, a knack for creating a single or two, and aggressive filler from the crazy man himself. Adding that -est may not have been the best of ideas. Skilled he is, “Dirtiest Thirstiest” remains just dirty and thirsty – thirsty for a drink of something new from the South (and preferably not out of Lil’ Jon’s pimp cup!).