New Orleans, Louisiana. Home of creole food, cajun cuisine, the New Orleans Saints, and a whole lot of culture. New Orleans is also the home of good music, rising stars, and in the midst of the city there is a raspy yet clear voice crying out in the wilderness- native son Corey Hicks. Hicks is a pastor as well as a rapper in the inner city of New Orleans and his latest work “The Whole 9” explores life as a young urban male in the mean city that has pulled so many down.
The Whole 9 starts off with Jubilant second line sounding intro “Klassic” feat G Servant, that sets the journey off and lets you know that you’re going want to turn this album up loud and there will definitely be no flipping through the tracks on this one. Not the strongest intro I’ve heard this year but definitely a solid one.
Corey teams up with native brother Marv 4 Mo Beats on a grimy track called Stop Playin Wit Me! This is a straight up hard track where Corey’s simple message is there is a lot of work to be done in the City rebuilding the city and rebuilding lives so there’s no time to play so stop playing with him!
There is always a temptation in whatever field we are in to immolate the people who may be considered the top in our field and Corey address this topic in his song Gotta B Me feat Brandy Robinson (also of New Orleans) The track is a bit different from the ones that precedes it, it has more of Jazzy feel which is very refreshing and fits the hook that Brandy Robinson lays down. Message is no matter what styles are out there or who may be the favorite rapper out there, there is no one else that he can be but himself. This is definitely one of my favorites on the cd.
The Whole 9 also has some strong features with emcees like Brinson, K-Drama, Stephen the Levite, R-Swift, Young Joshua, G Servant, Blazon, Jaleel, Titus, Double, Jin and J. Johnson. “Pine box” featuring Stephen the Levite and R-Swift is also a break from the grimy sound with more of the sound of a Cy Circus type feel beat but Swift and Stephen definitely bless the track with strong lyricism. This is another gem on The Whole 9
Another stand out track that breaks from the the down south New Orleans feel of the cd is “Here” featuring J. Johnson and Double. This track has more of a Wu Tang ring to it, very gutter but very east coast sounding. It’s definitely a banger and one the will be on repeat. I love this track because it’s probably the realest on the cd where Corey Hicks, J. Johnson and Double spill their guts on this track. This song is ready made for the streets.
Other stand out tracks are “The Battle” featuring Jin, Young Joshua and Enlitement another stand alone track. Also Middle East is a banger, hard beat hard lyrics great message. Never Dat featuring versatile artist Heath McNeese is also a clean track. There is also a very strong feature from veteran K-Drama on U da Best. Of course we have “Work” featuring Jaleel and G. Servant which was the first single released and is also a banger.
In Conclusion The Whole 9 really lives up to it’s name because in it you get it all. It’s a great diverse offering from Corey Hicks. Strong features, great production and most important relevant but God honoring lyrics. I would definitely have this one in my collection. I’ve followed Corey’s music from the beginning and he’s shown some definite growth in many areas with this release. You can tell he definitely has shifted in his mentality towards the quality of what he’s wanting to put out, it really shows in The Whole 9. Aside from a couple of lyrical mistakes like using the free slave like Nat Turner line more then once, this is a very solid project. Corey makes great use of features from well know artist without making it sound like a compilation album. One thing I can say for certain is that you will be blessed and challenged by The Whole 9.
Categorical Ratings Breakdown:
Beat Selection/Production: 4/5