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Album: 40 oz. Dreams on a Champagne Budget (2007)

Artist: Hesh One

Label: self-released

Where available/price: Available as a download from heshone.com

Songs: 1) Put ’em Up 2) L.A. Narcocorrido 3) Bleed, Spit & Shit 4) Rock My Khakis 5) Red or Blue 6) Desert Eagle

7) Where You At? 8) Menace Crook 9) Stik-Up Kidz

10) Domestic 911

Band: All sampling and mixing done by Hesh One. Vocals and music samples mixed from popular songs found online.

As an art project, 40 oz. Dreams on a Champagne Budget achieves its objectives. The album, which focuses on street gangs, relays a bittersweet theme: the juxtaposition of gunshots, police-radio scans, and soft piano convey the message that this is not the life desired, but it’s the life one must face.

Hesh One intersperses soulful cuts of wailing reggae and blues vocals with sound bites of street-tough gangster rappers, including Dr. Dre, the Game, Snoop Dogg, Ice T, Xzibit, Above the Law, and the Wu-Tang Clan. Also in the spirit of guerrilla art, Hesh One offers a “do it yourself” kit where you can download the album artwork, all of the MP3s, and create your own copy of 40 oz. Dreams for free.

As music, though, the album goes nowhere; the songs start with everything and end abruptly. Within the first few seconds of every song, Hesh has mixed in all of his rhythms, vocals, and sound effects and within a minute or so has ended them all and moved on to the next “song” in what he calls “short-attention-span lengths.” Nothing is allowed to expand or peak.

While the rowdy, bouncy jungle breaks or pure West Coast hip-hop backbeat are danceworthy, well timed, and professionally mixed, the pace of the album rushes and leaves the listener in its empty wake.

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