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Monday, April 12, 2010

Pretty Ricky Phontaine

It Ain't Eazy Being Pretty Ricky Phontaine

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One might assume that a Milwaukee rapper who calls himself a Martian with the soul of a hippie would be an East Side alternative MC with aspirations of being on a label like Def Jux or Rhymesayers. That Pretty Ricky Phontaine fits better with the Northwest Side hip-hop mainstream makes for an interesting surprise. He never really elaborates on his status as an extraterrestrial hippie, but a weird dichotomy unfolds throughout Phontaine’s 11 tracks. For the first few, he's all about boosting his ego, belittling his enemies and tapping some stripper booty. About halfway through, however, he turns into a street griot/motivational speaker railing against injustice and uplifting his listeners.Still, the squelchy synth tracks and occasional ’70s soul samples complement Phontaine’s simple but profanely articulate Too Short-like flow, no matter which side of his personality he flaunts.