There’s no doubt that LA-based rapper Ivan Ives wants to merge his passion for hip hop with his love for his Russian homeland on “Origins.” Though this 2007 EP means well, it’s limited by an unoriginal imbalance of old school boom-bap samples and superficial street thug swagger. Rhyme schemes and punch lines don’t stand out and the only track that tells a story worth a second listen is the hard-luck hustler acronym anthem “C.A.K.E.” (Cash Always Kills Everyone). The boundaries of hip-hop are limitless. But Ives manages to slap generic shackles on every song. Why not rap in Russian or spit rhymes that knock down walls instead of falling in to shout-out rap record cliché on “Epilogue.” These eight tracks of hollow holla-back anthems are tired and trite and lack the ingenuity to warrant any arresting development in the City of Angels.
Ivan Ives: www.ivanives.com