Cesar Comanche Squirrel and the Aces

[ABB; 2005]

Styles:  hip-hop
Others: 9th Wonder, Little Brother, Pete Rock

It's never fun being the third or fourth person out of the gate. When members of your crew establish themselves before you, you're stuck with the audience's immediate belief in you being a less talented person than the frontrunners. It's a bad predicament to find yourself in, but you deal. Cesar Comanche is dealing. With fellow Justus Leaguers Little Brother and 9th Wonder already gaining all sorts of admiration, Cesar Comanche has no choice but to follow them and prove his own worth.

Squirrel and the Aces is Cesar's third album, but really his first prominent one. With a lengthy tracklist -- and one full of guests -- the album has the feel of a mixtape. This isn't the perfect scenario for Cesar right now. What he needs to do is point the spotlight strictly towards himself. He needs to show he deserves to garner the same attention that his mates do. Selfishness will get him everywhere.

The production, much of which is handled by 9th Wonder, is sufficient and above par. Cesar Comanche delivers with a stuffy, sinus-infected-sounding voice. He touches upon similar subjects as Little Brother, keeping a level-headed view of all things under the sun. Like much of the Justus League, Cesar represents the South (North Carolina), but has a more New York-style influence. It's more grit than grits.

What it comes down to is that Cesar Comanche needs to be more self-interested. He's undoubtedly skilled and needs to direct the majority of the attention towards himself, not his co-workers. As the one who arrived late, he has to work that much harder to convince audiences he's meant to be at the forefront. With Squirrel and the Aces, he's not doing that -- passivity will be the death of him. Take the wheel and steer, Cesar!

1. Get Ready
2. The Life
3. The Grind
4. Prelude To...
5. Up & Down
6. In the Mornin
7. Miss You (remix)
8. Wrong One
9. Big Game Hunters
10. Survival of the Fittest
11. The Future
12. The Downpour
13. Not Hittin
14. Rockin It
15. Precious Time
16. All Praises Due
17. Outro