RIYLGym Class Heroes
Gorilla Warfare Tactics
2. Devil's Playground
3. Matador (Feat. Walt Lafty Of Sinai)
4. Reach (Feat. Chris Carrabba Of Dashboard Confessional)
5. Stranger (Feat. Adam Duritz Of Counting Crows)
13. You Went Away
7. Choose To Run
10. High Till I Die
11. Season's Change
12. Whatever You Need
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Did anyone know Adam Duritz of Counting Crows had a record label? Yeah, me neither. What about Duritz apparently signing a rapper to his label Tyrannosaurus Records? Well believe it, because it’s true. NYC transplant Notar apparently did something right to grab the attention of Duritz, whose career is about as extinct as the giant lizard his label references. Notar mixes rap with rock but not in Limp Bizkit fashion; it's equally as bad, just not in the same vein. Touring with his boss’s band on The Traveling Circus and Medicine Show, Notar gained lots of attention from spectators around the country and really set the stage for his debut LP Devil’s Playground. Attaining rave reviews for his ability to rap and twist words at an incredible rate with what fans are calling “deep and personal” lyrics, it seems like this debut full-length should take off without a hitch.
Well, first things first, I want to know what’s in the water Notar’s fans are sippin’ on. Sure, this dude can spit, there’s no doubt about that. Actually, his ability to rhyme so swiftly is about one of the only things this guy does has going for him… but “deep” lyrics? The lyrical content is about as deep as a shot glass. The tracks “High Till I Die” and “Alcoholic” pretty much speak for themselves. “High Till I Die” starts with a promising beat but then without delay, sounds like a Kottonmouth Kings song. Getting “high till he dies” and throwing his “middle finger in the sky”… come on man, it’s not 1997. “Alcoholic” pretty much follows in the same manner, smugly boasting how he’s an alcoholic and he’s “lettin’ the whole fuckin’ world know.” The fact that he thinks the whole world will be listening to this album is preposterous to begin with. “Reach” almost has a Matisyahu feel to it with its relentless beat, minus the reggae feel and uplifting chorus, and it surprisingly features Chris Carrabba but still falls short of meeting any sort of standard a Matisyahu track has.
Mr. Duritz even graced a track with his presence. “Stranger” is a typical song about not feeling comfortable in your surroundings. Duritz lends a vocal hand to back up Notar’s almost Classified-esque delivery. Honestly, this track and “Seasons Change” are two of the most boring tracks that I have ever listened to. So with that being said, I had a very difficult time getting through the rest of the album. The title track… bro, the title track… the Juggalos called, they want their song back. On a better note, “Perseverance” is a solid track that has tolerable lyrics, a steady beat and an overall pleasant flow. Too bad it’s surrounded by a surplus of garbage.
Now I’m not saying Devil’s Playground is a complete waste of time; all I’m saying is a trip to the dentist's office might be more enjoyable. There’s no doubt that Notar can flow, but this album is about as consistent as someone with schizophrenia. There is hope for Notar’s career; he just needs to find the niche he best fits. The rap/rock thing is a difficult sub-genre to carry. You either fall within the lines of Limp Bizkit or Gym Class Heroes. Being in the middle will only leave listeners confused without wanting to return to your music. Unless, of course, they enjoy mediocrity and unfortunately for Notar, he’s proved to be nothing more than run of the mill.