Bone Crusher feat. Valley High 

Free

Contrary to popular belief, Bone Crusher has always gone against the grain – from his formative years spent at Atlanta's Yin Yang Café to his latest release, Free. But to go from the aggressive crunk rap he made famous several years ago with his hit "Never Scared" to retro '80s new-wave rock jams? Quite a quantum leap. Listen to the buoyant first single, "Round ...," and two things are obvious: Bone Crusher had fun making this album, and he expects you to have fun listening to it. But it's hard to take the man, who set a weight-loss record on VH1's "Celebrity Fit Club," seriously when he sings in his faux Euro-rocker accent that he's a "Fat Boy Rock Star." He doesn't fake the punk funk, though, and that's saying a lot in a year when hip-hop has jumped all over the rock-riff bandwagon for the sake of producing "Party Like a Rock Star" hooks. His commitment alone might be reason enough to laugh with him rather than at him. 3 stars

Listen to songs from Bone Crusher's new album and a podcast interview with him, click here.

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