Some of you will see this album review and scratch your head, because up until this point you had no idea who or what the [twitter=HorseShoeGANG]Horse Shoe G.A.N.G.[/twitter] was, others will see the review up and simply assume it’s those guys who are affiliated with Crooked I. But then there are the brilliant ones, the savvy listeners who know what is going on and understand that this isn’t just another run of the mill rap group, as these guys have some next level skills on the mic.  After a listen to their sophomore effort Firing Squad the Horse Shoe G.A.N.G should no longer be much of a mystery.

Lyrics: 9.25

There are two standards for lyrical skill in Hip Hop for rap groups right now, Slaughterhouse, and then everything else. So if you’re in a rap group being thought of as the everything else, it is not in your best interest. There is no doubt that the G.A.N.G. could easily hold their own in a studio session with the super group Slaughterhouse. They are just that talented, but lyrical skills are defined by more then just having hot lines, and it is harder to judge when four emcees are sharing a single track, but this is not an issue with the C.O.B rappers, as everyone holds their own on the mic while not taking away from their lyrical integrity.

Production: 8.5

With a group this lyrical it would have been very easy for them to pick a bunch of beats that do nothing for the listener or add anything to the music, but they have incorporated a production style that enhances their lyrics while fitting perfectly with the versatility of their deliveries. With production handled by Treacherous Records in house producer Komplex, Jim Gittum, Qwest, Poker Beats, M.G., Sega, Taboo and Active, it offers the album a level of depth that is needed to succeed in today’s Hip Hop industry. It’s not a home run, but the production is definitely a step or two above the average. It works for them.

Songs: 8.0

The song section of the album gets the lowest score, and not because it was the weakest factor. The reasoning behind this is merely behind the intent of the album. Like many artists in today’s musical spectrum, rappers are becoming less and less aware of the thin line that differentiates an album from a mixtape. The album is great; the songs are just as good, but once again there is no over all theme. The album is titled Firing Squad, but besides the initial track the album format isn’t really different from the format of a mixtape.

Conclusion: 8.5

Firing Squad is the groups’ second album, and just like their debut album Gangsta MC, it’s a amazing piece of work, and will without a doubt stay in heavy rotation over the next few months in many Hip Hop heads iPods and MP3 players. My only gripe with the album, which may not be a concern of many today’s listeners, but like many rappers they need to paint a clearer picture with a concept to make a distinction between an album and a mixtape. This does not mean that every album should be conceptual, but there should be some level of connection. Firing Squad is a more than great compilation of songs, so either way fans will be happy, and new fans will be made.

The album is available for purchase digitally on iTunes or Amazon, or you grab a  hard copy at your local retail store or order online at Big Cartel for $5 or $15 autographed.