Stack Bundles
Hip-Hop’s Savior
Red Carpet Music Group

Beats: L
Lyrics: XL
Originality: L

Though he never released an official album, Far Rockaway, N.Y. rapper Stack Bundles reportedly recorded hundreds of tracks in the years leading up to his tragic death in June 2007. So in anticipation of his long-awaited posthumous debut, Rock Star, later this year, Stack’s inner circle has released Hip-Hop’s Savior, a collection of stellar songs that have aged remarkably well considering most of them were finished more than three years ago.

From the sound of things, the self-proclaimed Gorgeous Gangster was well on his way towards the top when tragedy struck. Though tracks like the frustrated “Get Over The Hump” feature him rapping about the struggles of trying to make it in the music business, the hand claps on the triumphant “Can’t Take That From Me” and the aptly-titled “A Star” showcase him spitting about overcoming those hurdles. The angry “Ease The Pain” even finds Stack dealing with fame for the first time and stepping into the shoes of some of his haters.

As with any posthumous album, though, the obvious knock against HHS is that because Stack didn’t necessarily record these 17 songs to be used together, it hardly sounds like a complete album. As a result, female-friendly tracks like “The Procedure” and “Change Up” throw off the momentum of the first half of the street album. But tracks like the sample-driven “Ashes To Ashes,” steer things back on course. Stack uses the moment to reflect on the fragility of life, with the eerie perspective; “Life is too short to sit around and complain, live it up so when I’m gone they gon’ remember my name.” Consider it done. —Chris Yuscavage