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Hot Karl - The Great Escape Review
by Morley Seaver

One can't help it, I suppose. The obvious comparisons are there. White guy. Sort of caustic at times. Eminem, right? Yes, well that is a starting point, but Hot Karl is no Slim Shady clone.

This is really the Calabasas, California native's first album. His debut was recorded in 2001 with a huge gang of help including DJ Lethal, Mya, Redman, and more. It was put aside for scheduling conflicts. [although rumor has it that it was shelved after pressure was applied from the Eminem camp -ed] His sophomore record finds him going the indie route. And it's an entertaining affair, depending on what you're looking for. If you're hardcore, you might find this a bit lacking. For the rest of us, it's a solid record that is a fun spin, although some of the record might not stand up to repeated playing.

The record features a running scenario whereby Karl is recording his record and getting to meet his idol MC Serch who is now an A/R. Serch is trying to get him to lose the suburbs influence and add some more current elements. The best part is at the end of the record where Karl calls his Mom to get him out of a locked studio booth and Mom proves she's not out of touch. Funny stuff.

Musically half of the beats are kind of by the book. Nothing special. There are the other half of songs, though, "Suburban Superstar", "Kerk Gybson", "Home Sweet Home" and "Just Like Me & You" and especially "Dreamin'" that have some good hooks. Lyrically and vocally, however, the guy has got it going on. The aforementioned "Dreamin'" is a commentary on failed Hollywood careers and "Kerk Gybson" traces all his '80s influences.

With only a handful of strong tracks, the rest blend into a solid, if unspectacular mix. Having said that, however, there is something uniquely likeable about the record and I find myself playing it often, wanting to feel more and actually finding other little treasures, line by line. While he will, no doubt, be plagued by the shadow of Marshall, this record should be judged on its own, and it should find a large audience.

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Hot Karl - The Great Escape

Label:Headless Heroes

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