Strong Arm Steady - Deep Hearted

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Strong Arm Steady are an interesting case study, they are very much a crew whose nett worth is much more than its individual parts. While the members as solo artists really struggle to hold their own, as a crew and with a gang of guest artists thrown in this album is actually quite enjoyable.

Strong Arm Steady were founded by Mr ‘Pimp My Ride’ Xzibit, although they have hammered the mixtape circuit for years the trio of Phil the Agony, Krondon and Mitchy Slick are only now delivering their debut. The album actually feels more like a ‘best of the west’ compilation, nearly every track featuring a guest and many featuring several, rather than taking away from the end result it actually helps complete the package, The beats throughout are some straight west coast gangsta shit, heavy rolling bass and classic west coast synths and samples. While names like J Thrill and Da Riffs hold their own the established names really shine. DJ Babu pulls out a banger, Evidence continues his big year on Streetlights while Madlib’s beat on Clean Up is as tight and abstract as you would expect.

On the mic the three have varied styles that combine well. Although the lyrical subject matter is nothing unique they manage to keep it interesting and hold their own against most of the big name guests. There are many standout moments, I Can’t Wait featuring Tha Liks and Stylistic Jones is heat, C0-operation featuring Dilated too a highlight while the bi-costal melding of Strong Arm and Talib Kweli works a lot better than you would think. Planet Asia and Xzibit represent for the local west coast as they always have and will, while a surprise appearance from Black Thought turns out to gel really well on Clean Up.

It isn’t anything new, it is just some classic Los Angeles gangsta shit.

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