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Minneapolis rapper breaks a leg in latest ‘Audition’

Joe Lattal | Thursday, March 30, 2006

Stefon Alexander’s acronymic nickname changes its meaning all the time (“Product of Society” and “Promise of Skill” being two examples) but P.O.S’s talent is always present. The Minneapolis rapper’s CD – “Audition” – is one of the strongest hip-hop albums since Kanye West’s “Late Registration.”

His background as a punk rock fan makes his music sound fresher than a lot of current hip-hip. It doesn’t explain his strange fascination with Charles Bronson, but his jams feature original electric guitar loops, and carry a punk rock attitude. Several notable guest appearances on “Audition” are Minneapolis natives, ranging from fellow Rhymesayers rapper Slug (Atmosphere) to Craig Finn from the college rock band, The Hold Steady.

But no matter who is playing on P.O.S’s team behind the mic or on the board, it works. The beats have a good variety of flow, such as the gangster-style delivery of “Half-Cocked Concepts” and the more dramatic and personal “Safety in Speed (Heavy Metal).” P.O.S. uses all sorts of production styles.

Some tunes have a rock ‘n’ roll feel, with elaborate electric guitar progressions and well-structured choruses like N.E.R.D. productions. Others are straight up hip-hop beats with turntables, bass and minimal instrumentation, similar to Cage tunes. Other songs celebrate old school soul with horn samples like Kanye’s jams. Some include goofy insults and a lighter feeling that reminds the listener of Eminem (“You drink Fresca? You’re fired.”). He showcases all the weapons in his arsenal successfully in just over 45 minutes.

P.O.S. is a rare breed of a multi-dimensional rapper. In “P.O.S. Is Ruining My Life,” he shows off his talent as he spits lines as fast as Twista or Busta Rhymes, without disrupting the fragile beat of the music. Much like other Rhymesayers label artists, the lyrics are clever, even when they’re about trivial movies: “The posters in the lobby of the theatre called it ‘Predator’/ I called it weak and unwatchable / Carl Weathers and two future governors, that’s really unacceptable / We’ve gotta stop falling for these double speakers from these double features / We’ve gotta keep ’em in the theaters.”

“Audition” is an album for the open-minded hip-hop aficionado. P.O.S. gives the listener a taste of his life in its entirety on each track with samples of punk rock, a political conscience and plenty of lyrical talent.

Loaded with talented artists such as Atmosphere, I Self Divine, MF Doom and Brother Ali, Rhymesayers offers some of the best hip-hoppers available out there. P.O.S is a worthy addition among the ranks of some of the more unconventional rappers who have already established themselves on the hip-hop scene.

Unfortunately, the album does have its weak points. For example, the tracks “Bush League Psyche-Out Stuff” and “The Kill in Me” definitely don’t live up to the quality of the rest of the album. However, for the most part, eclectic up-and-coming rapper P.O.S. performs very well in his most recent “Audition.”