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Chris Webby, Webster’s Laboratory

After shutting down mixtape site’s servers with the release of his Best In The Burbs last December, Chris Webby makes his 2011 return with Webster’s Laboratory. The 17-track project showcases Webby’s evolving lyrical skills on both original production and his own spin on some more recognizable industry favorites.

Webby grabs a guest feature from Freeway on “Block To The Burbs,” the tape’s standout track, and the two illustrate how hip-hop and rhyming can transcend their exceptionally different backgrounds. Webby is unable to find the same kind of success, though, when he pairs up with Gorilla Zoe on “WDGAF,” on which the Connecticut emcee sounds uncomfortable on a club/dance track that would be better suited for a rapper such as Flo Rida.

Webster’s Laboratory ends up being further proof that not only can Chris Webby rap, but his skills are improving with each release. Having said that, his content gets somewhat tired, and WL is indicative of an artist still trying to find himself and his own sound. Will Webby end up being the aggressive lyricist with a dark side that we hear on a track like the Apathy-assisted “Monster”? Or will he be the predictable, fun-loving joker who details his favorite burning habit on “Sunny Afternoon?” Maybe he can be both. Either way, WL should hold over Webby’s diehard ninja fan base and keep him buzzing as he continues to mature as an artist. —NMB

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