It is certain that $hamrock, a/k/a Yung Irish, released his debut full length album Tha Wyterapper Show (Wyte Music/Select-O-Hits) during the week that St. Patrick’s Day hit. A lot of people may be saying “who the hell is this white cat?” but if you remember VH-1′s Ego-Trip’s The (White) Rapper Show, you’ll know that it was a contest where various white rappers competed for a prize. I myself thought it was a great show, pushed slightly as a gimmick even though there were some people on their with skills. $hamrock won the top prize, and while he had released an EP and did a few mix tape appearances here and there, nothing happened, or at least no one outside of his fanbase had heard of him. Four years after winning, he’s hoping to turn some heads.
The album is called Tha WyteRapper Show and with his feet firmly planted in Atlanta, his music is very much about the Dirty South. He has a target audience, and he knows how to cater to them with lyrics and flows that are quite good. You did read that right, he has “flows”, in that he doesn’t rap in one specific style. Sometimes people are able to make it rhyming in one fashion and he doesn’t. There are songs about money, cars, women, and even a track called “Penitentiary” that touches about friends who will not be able to live in the outside world for five to ten years. It’s a song that might be enjoyed by his lady fans who may have boyfriends, husbands, or lovers who are locked up. Then there’s a song like “Stomp A Ho”, which if you listen fast could be a perfect song used by Ex-Lax (listen to the lyrics and you know why). There are songs here about hopes, dreams, and wanting better, all filled with fantasies about what the good life represents and what it can be for those who are living the myth of those fantasies. $hamrock doesn’t specifically say “I’m living this way, live the way I do”, he plays the role of the observer but doesn’t mind saying he wants some of that too.
As a producer, I tend to focus on that even more and if there’s one downfall to this album, it’s that the energy he conveys in his lyrics aren’t equaled in the music. I would have liked to have heard more diversity, I can hear him rhyming over some tight 9th Wonder beats or doing a track with Rakaa, Donwill, or Eternia, I imagine $hamrock being able to adapt to any musical environment while bringing other collaborators into his world too. I don’t hear that here, but I hear the potential of more. However, that’s my view of what I want to hear in future $hamrock projects. What I do hear is someone who has a level of confidence that comes from sharpening his skills and the methods in how he wants to be heard and known. There was a time when his style of music may not be enjoyed by people of other regions, and yet he’s not all about the ATL. $hamrock will appeal to fans of the Bay Area, those who like E-40 or Too $hort will find something along the same lines here.
As it stands, Tha WyteRapper Show is a decent album but I await to hear what he’ll come up with in the next few years.