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"Custom Cars & Cycles" was released in 2009 and came as the debut album from the Triple C's (Carol City Cartel). Lead by Miami's Rick Ross, the Dirty South Rap group, who also include members: Gunplay, Young Breed and Torch (the latter of whom is from the Bronx. Although active for many years, it wasn't until Rick Ross' third album when the group were ready to hold up as a unit that could rely on the support that Ross had gained through his consistent solo releases as he brought albums filled with the distinctive Floridian drug-based Gangsta Rap material.
1."Custom Cars & Clips" (Intro)
Off a pretty heavy opener, we see that here they kick things into high gear and come up with a heavy jam and one that features the type of lively production (linked into a catchy hook) that gives you the feel of the Dirty South in its peaking 2005-2006 years and so it shows that this crew are attempting to bring those days back as they start from here and get straight towards the rhymes that directly concern their (alleged) drug selling.
3."Break It Down"
Linking up with who I see to be one of the best names for this kind of material, this one has the Cartel linking up with UGK's only living member, Bun B and coming up with another track that features some rough beats that I can't see any room for complaints in as they show just how ruthless they are and how their continuous grind as lead to them getting to this stage in their career (even as they just drop this as their first proper album).
With this one you get another expected name in Cash Money's Birdman (Baby) rapping alongside the crew. This one came as the lead single to the album and I felt that it was a good choice to give a feel for the way that things are made to go with this album as they stick to the sort of direction that much of Rick Ross' first albums were in, but make it sound much richer with the added arsenal with more hungry lyricists who have a lot to offer.
5."We Gettin' It"
This is another memorable track from the album and one that seems to stand out from the hook that it has and having it backed up in its early stages by having Rick kick it all off with his hardcore rhymes and from this point he allows the other three to do their thing and show how they are able to contribute in the same way with their raw Gangsta Rap material that can't really be matched by another southern group.
With this one we find that we get more powerful material that takes you straight into the mindset that they appear to be in as we are made to feel their 'grinding' mode and get a chance to experience this lifestyle whilst being told about the things you get from doing this with Gucci mane's raps about the things he can afford as a result of it all for another heavy track that you will enjoy if you've felt everything up to this point.
7."Throw It In The Sky"
We see that here they calm things down quite a bit by showing exactly what they do when they are out to party as we are taken towards the stripclubs and we are made to feel this atmosphere, and their perception of this environment as we get some classy production from The Olympicks, who give the crew something perfect to suit the fact that here they are just getting loose and enjoying what they've got going on for them.
The beats that one get on this one manage to pull out even more intensity (at a poitn when I thought that they wouldn't be able to find any more room to get more high-quality there). However this does come and it means that they are able to come up with a street banger of a tune, and one that seems to work nicely with a Young Jeezy appearance to just show how much support they have in the south.
Although I have to say that this one was another that I enjoyed from the album, its one that features a massively unimaginative hook and one that takes on the same structure that has been heard on many other occasions through the album and so it takes away from what the rappers have to say here as we get the chance to feel them as they rhyme about their custom cars and choppers and how they roll in the streets.
This was a massive surprise on the album in just how high a standard this one is as we see that here they come up with a tune that shows just how serious they are about taking over the game with authentic Gangsta Rap. They do so with influence from early nineties West Coast Gangsta Rap and the perfect choice in a collaboration as The Game (who associates with Rick Ross for a common beef towards 50 Cent) and they go off on what I consider to be the best track from the album.
Appearing to calm things down off a track that takes things further than they have apparently have ever been before for them, we see that we get a tune that has them doing another where they forget the intense material and so choose to get Ross to lead things off and rhyme about all the exclusives that only people such as himself have access to alongside his crew and Masspike Miles for another decent one.
I have to say that I felt that this was a clear weak point on the album and one that I don't really think fitted in with the way that things were going with this album as it just seems out-of-place as we get some contemporary West Coast Hip Hop production, supported by vocals from both Mack 10 and Warren G, but it really didn't do it for me at all and came as a bit of a wasted tune that you are likely to forget.
13."Diamonds & Maybachs" (Part 2)
Lasting over seven minutes, this is the longest track on the album and one that takes a while to actually kick into action as it isn't until nearly 2 minutes into the thing where Rick Ross gets the thing under way. However once this has begun you get nothing but that smooth stuff that he was able to perfect over the years since his breakthrough with "Hustlin'" in 2006, and the rest seems to just fall into place without it appearing to overstretch.
As we move things on a little, we see that on this one they get into much more of the rougher Dirty South material and this is all apparently complimented by the decision to have Cool & Dre throw in lots of metal guitaring to make it all come together in such a way. The track goes hard and makes it all roll well here as you see that Dre (of the production duo) contrasts its hardness with a soft melodic R&B hook.
15."Yams" (Part 2)
We see that they end the album in a strong way as they bring out the second part to a track that many of their fans are likely to find familiar. In it we get an appearance from Memphis' Yo Gotti, who is seen to throw out some rhymes on this one as it all focuses around the drug-selling where we started off as the album began. It is a nice way to close it all off and I felt that it was a well-valued one here.
There's a lot to enjoy about this album and I felt that it was a great way to kick-start the careers of the other musicians within the Triple C's (other than Rick Ross) as they show signs of being able to do bigger and better things in the future without his backing as a support. It brings back some authentic southern Gangsta Rap, but there are a couple of flaws along the way.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Custom Cars & Clips
2 White Sand
3 Break It Down
5 We Gettin It
6 Trickn Off
7 Throw It in the Sky
10 Gangsta Sh*t
11 Finer Things
12 Chickn Talkn
13 Diamonds & Maybachs, Pt. 2
15 Yams, Pt. 2