Picks and Pans Review: Home Invasion

updated 04/19/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/19/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Ice-T

"Everything I write," Ice-T declares on his first album since last year's notorious "Cop Killer" episode, "is gonna be analyzed by somebody white." If he's right, the L.A. rapper has squandered a terrific opportunity. After a much publicized, mutually agreed upon parting with his former company, Sire, partly over Home Invasion's cover art, the album is out intact on an indie label. Unfortunately it's wildly uneven, much more bark than bite.

Some of the fault lies with Ice-T's deejay, Evil E. Save for the sinister snarl of "Ice M.F.T." and the rumbling attack of "It's On," the music's nothing to get excited about. But Ice-T himself has never been a particularly riveting rapper. He doesn't flow and his rhymes are sometimes strained. And in his lyrics he tries to have it both ways: Taking the high road, he bashes Korean-bashing on "Race War" and gang violence in "Gotta Lotta Love." Yet he turns loose guest-rapper Marquis, of 2 Live Crew, on the sexist slime of "99 Problems."

There is also endless self-aggrandizing, but that's been part of rap forever, and Ice-T doesn't seem to take the cartoon machismo too seriously. Ultimately what makes Home Invasion capable of rising above its shortcomings is the scope of Ice-T's vision. If he ever were to make a record as musically sharp as his most incisive observations, he would be more of a threat to the status quo. (Rhyme Syndicate/Priority)

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