C-Rayz is a guy that’s been around for years, but is mostly known to only the purest of hip hop heads. It seemed for a moment that he might break out when he put out a couple of releases on Def Jux, but in general, he doesn’t seem translate well on record.

The first time I heard him was when Ravipops came out. I liked it, but wasn’t blown away by it. Then I saw him open for Lif and Aesop, and I was like, “Oh, I get it. This guy is a live emcee first and foremost.”

Unfortunately, this album continues his tradition of only being okay. It features some good verses and competent production on some tracks, but it never gets it together to make a satisfying album. A song such as “I Love New York,” certainly had potential, with some acceptable production and verses about the city he calls home and some great guests (Karniege, Vast Aire, Access Immortal, Poison Pen, and Lady Pseudo). It also has one of the worst choruses I’ve ever heard: “I’m talkin’ ‘bout the city/She got rotten milk in her titties/But her nipples look good and if I really could/I would bag me the Statue of Liberty.” Really? That’s what you want to say about one of the most dynamic cities on the planet? You want to undo all the work all these emcees are laying down with a couple of lines? But you’re just going to continue my frustration with your career, C-Rayz.

“In Your Soul” fairs much better, but still lacks a killer hook or riff that makes the song stay with you for a while. I really wish C-Rayz would find a producer who could sit him down and harness his skills to make them work over the course of an album. Until then, we’re left to pick and choose and try to find the good in an album like this.