It's fair to expect Supermercado to be terrible: After all, the concept of two white guys rapping over a metallic rock groove has probably been forever tainted by the soulless quasi-funk of 311. But it's a pleasant, if less than perfect, surprise, with the Brooklyn-based duo 2 Skinnie J's bringing commendable lyrical skills to a booming mix of heavy guitars and thumping beats. J Guevara's powerful baritone owes a lot to Chuck D, and he preaches with similar authority and rhythmic cadences. The delivery of partner Special J is considerably less impressive: His nasal vocals sound demure by comparison. Neither J is exactly bursting with original ideas, either; most of the best ones here—"In The Clutches Of The Diabolical Sgt. Stiletto" features The Wu-Tang Clan's creepy production touches, and "Wild Kingdom" has droning, Faith No More-ish guitars—have been done before, but the duo adds a little of its own flair to its stolen goods. "The Best" shamelessly lifts its catchy chorus from the '70s dance classic "Ain't Nobody," but the Js' enthusiasm makes it irresistible. Meanwhile, their ode to Brooklyn, "(718)," shows off considerable rhyming skills, despite the song's banal subject matter. Critics will likely rush to condemn 2 Skinnee J's as a 311 knockoff as soon as the reggae-tinged debut single "Riot Nrrd" hits, but beneath Supermercado's dubious surface, there's a good album fighting to get out.

Advertisement