Top Picks

Hood Tested Gangsta Approved
Deep Groove Entertainment (2011)
good good good half good

Recommended reviews

01. G-Code (Class N Session)
02. Dis Boi Slapp
03. City Of Rain
04. We Like 2 Party
05. Against Tha World f. Overflow
06. Diamondz On My Neck f. Latin Threat & Romero
07. Dig Dat! f. Brent Ogee
08. Pimp In Or Pimp Out f. Suga Free & Infra Redd
09. Kandy Whippin'
10. Whut'chu Werkin' Wit f. Doll-E-Girl
11. Macaroniz f. Smigg Dirtee
12. Klic Klac Rap f. Swift Tongues
13. Ride Wit Us f. Brent Ogee
14. Snitch Jackets
15. Duin' Whut We Want Tu
16. Hood Tested, Gangsta Approved
17. Doin' It Majah f. Jay Tee & 206 Assassin
18. Tha Ghetto (bonus track)
19. Like What (bonus track) f. Brent Ogee
20. Against Tha World (radio) (bonus track) f. Overflow

On similar occasions we always say the same thing: portal since the very beginning focused primarily on northern and central California music scene. We'd gladly spread our network to other interesting regions as well, especially Northwest: such states as Washington and Oregon. Unfortunately we don't have enough time and people to handle the whole thing, that's why you rarely see reviews of albums coming from these parts. Nevertheless we did have an opportunity to have a closer look at Cin'atra's endeavors, we wrote articles regarding his sophomore solo "Rhymez Emphasizing Actual Life" and Turf Grindaz duet titled "Poundin' Tha Pavement" (read both). It's high time we examined his most recent recording, the hereby cd "Hood Tested Gangsta Approved". I also highly recommend you to get familiar with the in-depth, interesting interview that we conducted with this Seattle representative in Summer 2011.

Cin'atra once said that the currently reviewed album will be sort of a compromise between "Rhymez Emphasizing Actual Life" and "Poundin' Tha Pavement". In other words you'd receive some serious, mild vibes interspersed with light, party-like melodies sprinkled with hyphy mannerism. And that's indeed a pretty accurate summary. The album opens with really great joints, characterized by heavy drum/bass hits, especially "G-Code" and "We Like 2 Party" which are dynamic enough that force you to bob your head intensely. What is more, "City Of Rain" is a more laidback cut about the home town, it features a bit "vintage" production and a hook with a nice talkbox like "California Love". Finally "Against The World" is even softer, telling of a true love towards women, while chorus hits you with a Dirty South-ish feel - interesting thing.

I generally think that Cin'atra is an even artist and talented enough that you can never say a bad word about vocal aspect of his tracks. He moves really smoothly over various rhythms, naturally blends with a musical background, you can feel that he does his thing with easiness. When it comes to those more dynamic joints he can slightly modify his voice, sprinkling it with a twisty, humorous note. What is more, I need to admit that I'm pleased with the fact that the artist puts much work in the lyrical layer of his bars, at least when it comes to the word level, and he always provides a refreshing set of rhymes. Just have a look at the below quote:

Don't get it twisted
We misfits
Try to uplift this rap shit
With sick linguistics
But these haters be on some bitch shit
They don't realize I'm truly gifted
Or maybe they do and they won't admit it
I'm made for the rap game, custom fitted

So far I have praised the first five tracks, ending with "We Like 2 Party". Not without a reason, as once "Diamondz On My Neck" comes in, the overall level goes down a bit. And this is primarily caused by the chosen beats, which ultimately determine reception of a song. The whole production was handled by FunkDaddy, a classic composer, undoubtedly also known to Bay Area rap fans. He prepared definitely modern, party-like, moving melodies, but they obviously won't suit everyone. The already mentioned "Diamondz On My Neck" which features a monotonous, computerized voice on a hook. Both joints with Brent Ogee ("Dig Dat!" and "Ride Wit Us") somehow lost Cin'atra's style and came out too hyphy, too crispy - they sound as if they were Brent's solos. I understand that the main host wanted to provide a solid dose of positive vibes and most likely a lot of people will appreciate them, but I personally feel bored when I hear too many cosmic recordings in a row: "Kandy Whippin'" (with irritating kids on a hook), "Whut'chu Werkin' Wit" (about ass shaking in a club), "Macaroniz", "Snitch Jackets" or "Duin' Whut We Want Tu". I'm way more into those more serious tracks, with scarce to zero amount of partyness in them, like "Klic Klac Rap", "Hood Tested, Gangsta Approved" or "Doin' It Majah". While listening to this project, there's a moment when I feel a glut; there are far too many modern sounds for my taste and too few classic rap references. That's why when #18 ("Tha Ghetto", taken from Cin'atra's previous solo) hits the deck, I know that these are the tunes that this cd lacks: slower tempos, serious, personal lyrics commenting contemporary reality and less electronic music.

"Hood Tested Gangsta Approved" is a nice album, definitely dedicated to fans of modern West Coast sounds. That's because there are lots of fast-paced songs, focusing on providing entertainment. Those of you who rather look for laidback g-funk style should search somewhere else.
Cin'atra, thank you for providing an album for the review.

Written by: khamenei
Comments (2):
By 206 A$$A$$IN on 26 August 2011
The Rick Ross of the Westcoast!
By ELISA SIGALA on 25 August 2011

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