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Album Review

Sam Adams, 'Boston's Boy'

July 12, 2010

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Boston has had a tradition of cerebral, underground hip-hop over the past 20 years, but commercial success was elusive until Sam Adams (born Sam Wisner) broke through this spring with “I Hate College,’’ a reworking of “I Love College’’ from the already past-tense Asher Roth. Now comes the Trinity College student’s debut and it’s clear he should have taken time to woodshed his skills and come up with something that showcased the talent he brags about over these eight songs. Some rhymes are brutally rudimentary (“ ‘I Hate College’ allowed me to enter/ the realm of popularity/ I thought I’d reach never.’’) There are clever lines but not enough to convince quite yet. Too much feels derivative, whether it’s the strip-club banger “Swang’’ or the autobiographical “Just Love Here,’’ which comes off as Wonder Bread Marshall Mathers. Unfortunately, Adams spends more time swaggering about how paid he is and how many models he’s scoring instead of spitting rhymes that stick. He indeed may squeeze out a few hits, as “Driving Me Crazy’’ and “You Girl’’ have infectious hooks. On the raucous playa’s anthem, “Tab Open’’ he crows, “don’t be shy, lose yourself/ I ain’t [expletive] Eminem.’’ That’s abundantly clear. (Out tomorrow)

KEN CAPOBIANCO

ESSENTIAL “Driving Me Crazy’’