Crime Mob “Circles”

Known for minimialist crunk anthems that sponsor ghetto pompousness, be it with violence (“Knuck If You Buck”) or booty-shaking (“Rock Yo Hips”), teenage Southern rap quartet Crime Mob venture down a different path on the Hated On Mostly album track, “Circles”, an R&B deviation from the norm that aims to be soft despite the fact it seems to be beyond the group’s reach.

Jumping quite late on the chimpunk soul sample bandwagon, Crime Mob speed up and stutter the Friend of Distinction standard “Goin’ In Circles” for an obvious song on relationship frustration. What’s interesting here is that in most cases when a rapper turns their attention to sensitive subject matter, the delivery is slower, the flow more smoother. Crime Mob forgo the predictable for their typical jackhammer ear assault, batting their listener over the head with loud, expletive-laced anger towards their partner’s irritating ways.

It’s laughable, yet not so surprising, that Crime Mob wouldn’t understand the idea of subtlety (previous choruses include: “We rocking stilettos hoe”, “I’ll beat yo azz” and “fuck niggaz”). To their credit, though, there’s a little charm in such a caveman-inspired performance and once again it’s the less forgettable female members Diamond and Princess who pull off the best verses (women dissing men is an always welcomed perspective in urban music versus the opposite, which almost always feels abusive even when the female dissee is entirely in the wrong).

Hey, no one ever wrote the rap rule that said rap’s version of R&B must always be tender and sweet, no matter how much constant hip hop balladeers LL Cool J and Bow Wow say otherwise.

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