Paul Wall

Record review

Texas Platters

Paul Wall

The Peoples Champ (Swishahouse/
Asylum)

As a gold-grill jeweler, H-town rapper Paul Wall understands full well that extra frills depend on an effective hustle. Exhibiting a knack for righteous bezels, The Peoples Champ benefits tremendously from guest appearances that often outshine their welcome wagon. While Wall holds his own on summer anthem "Sittin' Sidewayz," it's Big Pokey that commandeers the heart-thumping Salih Willaims beat with an authenticity that harkens back to the syrup-laden days of DJ Screw. On "State to State," "So Many Diamonds," and "Drive Slow" it's as if Wall is the one doing cameos on songs by Freeway, T.I., and Kanye West. Meanwhile on "Trill," Bun B and BG steal the show from "the undisputed king of the parking lot" as do Three 6 Mafia on "I'm a Playa" and Lil Wayne on "March N' Step." Lucky for Wall that his bubbling solo track "Internet Going Nutz" restores the idea that he's much more than a white face exploiting black trends and stereotypes. Real deal or not, Wall's first major-label effort is adorned with its fair share of gems.

***.5

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