Release Date: 09.17.02
Record label: Hollywood Records
Genre(s): Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, etc.
by: johnathan baran
It's the spring of 2001, your name is Marty James and your band Scapegoat Wax just released their debut album Okeeblow on the Beastie Boy's infamous Grand Royal Records. Your single "Aisle 10 (Hello Allison)" is just about to be picked up by MTV2 and radio for rotation. Things couldn't be looking better for you, considering you spent the last few years of your life spinning at parties and sleeping on porches. Oh, and your record label is about to go bankrupt and leave you with virtually no support.
And so Swax begins, with Marty a year or two older and a whole lot bitterer. While technically Swax may be the follow up to the acclaimed Okeeblow, it is more like a new start for James and his backing band, a chance to redo everything that got messed up last time when his label went under. Of the 12 songs on this album, three of them have already seen daylight as tracks from the debut effort, including the former single "Aisle 10". While Swax never quite seems to hit a stride the way Okeeblow did, it is a fun and incredibly diverse album none-the-less.
"Do I rap or do I sing?" James asks his audience on the opening track "Back Alive", and throughout the rest of the album he never seems to stick to one answer. He sings ("Space to Share"), he raps ("Eardrum"), and he does a little of everything else in between. From track to track James switches from hard rock, to smooth R&B, to pure funk, to straight up hip-hop. This eclectic mix doesn't always work (the first single "Lost Cause" for example sounds a bit too much like a Smashmouth or Sugar Ray song to be good), but the effort is always sincere and never seems like a marketing ploy. While Swax is by no means one of the hip-hop masterpieces that 2002 saw, you could certainly do worse than giving it a listen. It's a fun, enjoyable mix that doesn't always hit on all cylinders but for the most part treats the listener to a little of everything. 13-Jan-2003 11:00 PM