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2 Pistols
Death Before Dishonor

A hit record has a tendency to make things happen—just ask 2 Pistols. The Tarpon Springs, Fla., native parlayed the success of his T-Pain–powered single, “She Got It,” into nationwide exposure and a deal with Universal Republic. Now looking to offer listeners more than just a catchy ringtone, Pistols locks and loads with his first LP, Death Before Dishonor.

The bulk of the beats are handled by the Grammy Award–winning production team the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, whose smooth arrangements and brooding instrumentation go from syrupy soul (“Let’s Ride”), to Southern crunk (“We Run It”), to haunting rider music (“Getting Money Mane”). This diverse sound bed is a plus, as it helps mask Pistols’ limited lyrical range.

As far as topics go, Pistols presents the standard rap fare, like making it rain (“Been Throwin’  Money”) and grindin’ in the street (“From the Bottom”), but surprisingly spends an exorbitant amount of time catering to chicks. First there’s the Ray J–assisted “You Know Me,” where he plays the hustler with a heart of gold, and then there’s the debauchery ode “That’s My Word,” featuring Trey Songz. Despite all the pussy-pandering, 2P employs flirtatious lyrics to prove he’s a ladies’ man at heart. For example, on “Flex,” his Southern-fried flip of reggae star Mad Cobra’s 1992 hit, the rapper spits, “Girl, flex, time to have sex/I know she wet, and I ain’t even touch her yet.”

While 2P doesn’t offer much in terms of depth, his sensually seductive swagger and stellar production make Death Before Dishonor a solid introduction. With surefire singles and star-studded R&B collaborations to his credit, 2 Pistols proves that he got it and doesn’t plan on letting it go anytime soon. –Paul Cantor

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