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Critics' Reviews

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It's been a lengthy ramp running up to I-20's first solo album. Having made considerable splashes on Ludacris' "Move Bitch" and the remix of Houston's "I Like That" (as well as a handful of underground cuts), the Decatur, GA-based MC steps out with a solo record around the same time as fellow Disturbing tha Peace member Shawnna. Compared to the records from most of his Southern contemporaries, Self Explanatory is nearly a relentlessly dark and menacing affair. Even the most lighthearted cuts on the disc, like the properly titled Salaam Remi production "Fightin' in the Club" and the improperly titled Lil Jon production "Break Bread" ("Break Necks," more like), are most likely to be heard at the type of party that sends you to the hospital. It doesn't hurt that 20 has one of the deepest, most imposing voices around. Resembling the sound of a prank caller who has disguised his voice by slowing it down and then speeding it back up to normal human tempo, it's instantly memorable and doesn't seem the least bit gimmicky. Though he's an above average lyricist, it's this quality that he'll be remembered for. Containing all the guest appearances and producers you'd expect from a Southern rap record in 2004, Self Explanatory isn't going to catapult I-20 to a Ludacris level of popularity, but it's strong enough to make the MC's fellow DTP members proud. ~ Andy Kellman, Rovi