steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
info opinion


"Burglaritis" CD

Hand Solo Records

Genres: hip hop

November 2006

SJ the Wordburglar is just another in the long line of nerdy white rappers who faces the endless question of what exactly to say on his tracks. With no dramatic autobiography to draw from, or any overt political message, options are limited, and they usually tend to focus around a clever self-deprecation.

Hip-hop simply isn’t the medium for self-deprecation, and Wordburglar realizes this; making no amends for his lack of cred while constantly hyping the fact that he is a pleasantly cheeky rhymer. Almost all of the songs on this album are straight displays of his lyrical wit, and generally this works. However, at 20 tracks the one-note-ness of the album wears a bit thin, to the point where he re-uses similes (“I’m hot like... a hot girl’s ass in a bikini/people who wear lots of layers/etc.”) However, even with this occasional lyrical monotony, he can catch you off guard (What’s higher than two... three! And who’s flyer than you... lots of people!)

Wordburglar’s quick punchlines are complemented well by his crisp, nasal delivery. He flows uncannily well in a sub-genre often populated by rappers trying too hard to spit tongue twisters – in other words, he doesn’t go out of his way to impress with his flow, and as a result doesn’t disappoint. It’s easy to notice this on “Fun is Number One (Eat a Parrot)”, where featured MC Selfhelp does his best Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony impression and is followed by SJ, who, having admitted he can’t sing earlier on the album, sticks with his tight, toneless flow to great success.

The production on Burglaritis, a nice mix of cartoonish and conventional beats, complements Wordburglar’s goofy delivery well in small doses – meaning that the production is good but monotonous. On track 6, “Sayin’ Raps”, Wordburglar asks the Beatmason to “bring the horns back,” but even by then we’re sick of the horns. All this is coming from a guy who usually loves horns in hip-hop songs. But this is way too much, to the point that even I can’t listen to more than 10 songs at once.

Ultimately Burglaritis is a great compilation of singles; full of songs which will automatically impress. They’re all well-made and clever but unfortunately don’t fit together into a coherent album. But the individual songs are all so fresh that it’s hard to really knock the album for not being an album. Stick a Wordburglar song on a mix sometime (preferably the standout “Eight Rappers & the Mason”) and you will basically double its cleverness content. Wordburglar may be a one-trick pony, but he pulls that trick off pretty gosh darn well.



Engelbert K. Mutton

[Vitals: 20 tracks, distributed by the label, released Aug 8 2006]