*** Kottonmouth Kings
Kottonmouth Kings are six suburban white boys doing hip-hop, but on the group's
second disc their race is a conspicuous non-issue. That's because with these
guys, smoking pot is the only issue. They get more mileage out of the subject
than most: "Coffee Shop" is a love letter to Amsterdam; "King's Blend" and
"Size of an Ant" are aural fantasies about, respectively, winning the Cannabis
Cup and living inside a marijuana plant. The group's beatmaster, Brad Daddy X,
is adept at laying down sleek, mechanized grooves that borrow from early-'90s
G-funk while evoking the alternating bliss and paranoia of pot smoking.
The highlights here are party anthems like "First Class" and "Good As Gold,"
but the Kings also show an activist streak on the utopian "Peace Not Greed,"
which features a shouted guest vocal from TSOL frontman Jack Grisham. Their
finest MC, Jonny Richter, stands out on the narrative "The Lottery," the one
low-class fantasy on the disc that's not about weed. This is a band with their
heads in the clouds in every sense of the phrase, and an album with more than
enough blunted-out choruses and swaying rhythms to sustain their high.
-- Sean Richardson