Kriminals

The Games We Play (n / a)

Texas Platters

Kriminals

The Games We Play

The murky aura that surrounds the Kriminals' third effort pokes its cryptic head out of shadowy hip-hop with each drawn-out violin stroke and keyboard phrase. The South Austin trio shows it has little trouble intimidating on The Game We Play, "If They Hated" pitting the Kriminals against opposition from the gate. The one-dimensional focus burns out quick, though, as a reliance on boasting-and-bashing taunts ignites only insipid rhymes that fall off beat and head into undecipherable hooks ("Stuck in the Back"). The focused and sincere "Times Are Hard" comes too late to make an impression, and with only the occasionally tweaked drum machines and Timbo-synthed style of "Them Kriminals Motherfuckas" serving as rare breaks from monotony, just getting there is a struggle. "We Ride Slow" is obvious, but Kriminals should pick up the pace.

*.5

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