Papoose - Nacirema Dream (Review)

Papoose - Nacirema Dream (cover)

Papoose is a rapper out of Brooklyn, NY, who is best known for his extensive mixtape catalog and crazy punchlines. Back in 2005 or so, he signed to Jive Records and announced his debut album, The Nacirema Dream, which was to be released shortly thereafter. After a split with Jive and numerous other delays, the album is finally being released independently. So how does it sound? Click to find out.

1) Intro - Skit.

2) Motion Picture - Ignoring the skit, the album begins with a wack Dame Grease instrumental that sounds like it might have been hot back in 2003 or 2004. Papoose spits two story verses that are pretty dope, but not on a Ghostface Killah or Kool G Rap level of storytelling. Pap has a nice flow, but the song didn't keep my interest for very long, probably due to the beat.

3) Mother Ghetto - This is Paps ode to Brooklyn. The beat, by Ron Bowz, is nice and Papoose is spitting on here. I like this a lot more than the first track.

4) Aim Shoot (featuring Mobb Deep) - Tie Sticks comes through with a darker piano beat which Papoose and Prodigy rip. The Lloyd Banks sample on the chorus gets a bit annoying, but the verses are dope and it's good to hear Mobb Deep on a track together (even if Havoc is a bit weak on here).

5) Skit - Some school kids write about HIV and Cancer and such, which sets up the next track.

6) Cure (featuring Erykah Badu) - The beat, by Buckwild, is laid back and a bit melancholy, which matches the subject matter of the song. Papoose's verses personify cancer and HIV while Erykah provides the chorus. Good message. This is dope.

7) Nacirema Dream - I haven't heard a Heatmakerz track in quite a while, but this is pretty ill. Papoose spits about following your dreams and not letting anything hold you back. So far the album has surprised me. I was skeptical that anything this long in the making would turn out as good as this has so far.

8) Pimpin' Won't Die - I guess I spoke too soon since I'm not feeling the chorus or the C4 beat on here. The chorus reminds me of something off of an old Do Or Die album. The concept of the song, however, is pretty dope since the song is a continuation of 2Pacs Brenda Got A Baby and Slick Ricks Children's Story. Still, not a standout for me.

9) 6AM (featuring Jim Jones and Jadakiss) - The beat, by StreetRunner, is a bit bland in my opinion. The concept of the song is pretty dope though, with each verse ending with the police knocking on the door. All three emcees come correct, but the song didn't really hold my attention.

10) Skit - Bleh.

11) Law Library Part 8 - This is part 8 of a series of songs in which Papoose breaks down different aspects of law. Jay and Certifyd provide an ill piano loop and Papoose sounds great over it. Dope song, but I'm not sure how it will hold up on repeated listens.

12) What's My Name (featuring Remy Ma) - Dan Dilemma provides a funky instrumental for Papoose and Mrs. Papoose to get busy over. I like the concept of husband and wife trading bars, but I'm not really feeling the song much. Still, you can tell they were having fun in the booth....

13) On Top Of My Game (featuring Mavado) - Tie Sticks provides a beat that sounds like a weak attempt to make a club track. Not feeling it.

14) Faith - Pretty dope vocal sample by Chemist and Papoose rips it. As usual with Pap, there are a few wack punchlines on here such as:
"I eat a lot of fish and parsley
Green vegetables, sweet peas and broccoli
Drink a lot of water so it can wash me
My homie told me to stop eating rappers
He tryin to starve me"
but most of the song is pretty ill.

15) Turn It Up (featuring DJ Premier) - DJ Premier shows up to provide a dope beat for Papoose to destroy. The instrumental is classic Primo and Papoose's flow is nice. This is a banger and one of my favorite tracks on here.

16) Die Like A G - The beat, by Antwan 'Amadeus' Thompson, has some stadium hand claps and strives to have an epic sound, but misses. It's not bad, it's just reaching for something greater than it turns out to be. Papoose rips it though.

17) Get At Me (featuring Ron Bowz) - Ron Bowz returns with a surprisingly dark beat. I actually really like the instrumental on here, but the auto-tuned hook threatens to ruin the song. Papoose destroys this track though. He is really spitting on here and I didn't notice too many weak punchlines.

18) Where I Come From (featuring Dada Stone, Odog, Manson, Kino and K-Brown of Thugacation) - Yeah, I'm not feeling this at all. DJNu drops an instrumental that sounds like it's purpose is to get some radio play, but it won't. I'm also not sure who most of the emcees are on here. Pass.

19) RIP - Ok, this is much better. Skitzo provides an ill vocal loop and Papoose rips it. Pretty much anything would sound good after the previous song though. Still, this is a pretty good homage track.

20) Alphabetical Slaughter Part II (Z to A) - The last track is produced by StreetRunner and features DJ Kay Slay. The beat is really annoying, but the focus of this song is supposed to be the lyrics. Papoose spits bars that all start with the same letter, starting from Z and working back up to A. The concept is dope, but its been done before (and done better) by Blackalicious on their A2G EP back in 1999.

Papoose says that he is the first to do it, and I guess technically he is.
“Alphabetical Slaughter”, like I said, is something that was never done before. People tried. But when you’re doing A’s, you gotta keep it A’s. You can’t use a ‘B’ word or ‘C’ word. As you go along, you gotta keep it like that, and it has to make sense."
Given that technicality, the Blackalicious song doesn't quite fit....but the song still has to sound good right? Either way, Papoose was proud enough of the song to shoot a video for it.

I'm going to rate the album a

3 / 5

since the album is surprisingly good. Papoose comes with some ill lyrics and song concepts, but a few of the beats and hooks hold it back from getting a better rating. The highs on the album are really high (Cure, Turn It Up), but the lows are really low (On Top of My Game, Where I Come From). Still, I would recommend checking out the album or at least copping a few of the songs off of iTunes.


  1. we came to the same agreement mic-wise but got there thru different means

    the mobb and kiss tracks were booty,you mentioned paps wack punchlines yet the mobb track was a whole verse filled with wack punchlines. that beat was not dark either it was barely alive. i will assume your a mobb deep fan to an extreme considering that was one of the worst mobb posse cuts i ever heard.

    the 6am track was beyond lackluster. it had no energy and the concept couldnt save it from itself.

    last but not least i dont know your ethnicity but i will assume your white by saying that blackalicious had the better song.

    the quote by papoose you used described why it wasnt. in my experiences only white people made this comment, engineers, backpackers etc.

    just an observation but props on your review, ours was pretty similar and i will purchase the album now

    1. I'm definitely feeling the Mobb Deep track (minus Havoc's verse) more than many of the other tracks on here. Yeah Paps verse is full of wack punchlines (especially the 'off the wall like a 2011 calendar' line), but so is most of the album, excluding some of the concept tracks.

      We are in agreement about 6AM. The song is boring.

      While Paps' Alphabetical Slaughter may be better from a technical standpoint, I don't think it makes for the better song. Blackalicious' 'Alphabetical Aerobic' is just more enjoyable to me.

  2. im sorry but Alphabetical Aerobic just doesnt compare at any level to alphabetical slaughter. not even close. no contest. so yeah....

    1. Lyrically, I agree. Papoose's version is way more complex lyrically than the Blackalicious version since Alphabetical Slaughter starts every single word with the current letter, which is dope and is something Gift of Gab doesn't do. Pap definitely wins on that front. However, Gift of Gab is actually flowing over the instrumental instead of just spitting out words, so Blackalicious gets points there.

      Beat-wise the Blackalicious version wins for me by far. The beat on Alphabetical Slaughter is grating to my ears. Sure, the sample being played backwards is part of the gimmick of the song, but it could have been done much better. If you want to hear a sample flipped backwards that still sounds dope, check out Binary Star's "NoitavO" off their recently released self titled EP.

      Overall, Alphabet Aerobics is just the more enjoyable song for me. There are plenty of songs out there that are stellar lyrically but do not make for a good song...and this is one of them for me. Just my opinion.