KillerMike.jpgJust when you thought he was heading into obscurity with OutKast’s other former protégé Slimm Calhoun, Killer Kill From Adamsville is back with a batch of work that’s harder than ever. His two-disc street album, I Pledge Allegiance, proves that, even though he’s estranged from the Mighty O, beefing with a Purple Ribbon All-Star and sitting on a shelved sophomore album, Mike is still a monster on the mic.

Whether it’s promoting his pimpin’ over the swinging horn riffs and bouncy percussion of “H.N.I.C.” or using the kazoo-sounding synths of “Fuck U Pay Me” to preach about paper, Mike’s the king of outrageous quotables. On the latter he claims, “I only paid for pussy once, and I felt like a lame/So I went back and stole the bitch TV and chain.” He gets even fouler on “Gat Totin’” (“That A-K-K-K/In the back of the Chevrolet/Killed so many niggas it joined the KKK”).

The way he laces his d-boy bravado with socially conscious and controversial commentary really separates Mike from all the other Young and Lil’ snow flow-ers in A-Town. After rapping about the downsides of the dope game on “You Don’t Want This Life,” he rips Oprah a new one on “That’s Life” (“You’d be hard-pressed to find another rapper smarter’n me/Maybe Jay-Z, 2Pac or C-U-B-E/But Oprah rather put Superhead on TV/Now what your White audience gon’ think about we?”).

Because I Pledge is twice as long as your standard CD, Mike has the chance to introduce his Grind Time Rap Gang—S.L. Jones, Nario, Bigg Slim, Young Pill and Da Bill Collector—who appear on nine out of 22 tracks. But with a whopping hour and 40 minutes of music, some redundancy does creep in. Do you really need “Shoot ’Em Up” when you’ve already got a track called “Gat Totin’”? Still, Mike’s effort is guaranteed to make folks respect his grind.—TIMMHOTEP AKU