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Kottonmouth Kings

Greatest Highs

Release Date: 01/15/2008
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Price: $19.98 $14.98

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California's Kottonmouth Kings are a bong-sucking rap-rock institution that had over ten years of rebelling and getting stoned on record when Greatest Highs rolled around in 2008. In many ways, they followed the same path as the Insane Clown Posse, having been signed to a major label before being unceremoniously dropped, which thrust upon them a thing of greatness: their own cottage industry. With their Suburban Noize Records company, the Kings have no filter and are able to issue a slew of recordings from every direction -- regular albums, solo albums, remix albums, live albums -- and deliver them right to their loyal fans who have an insatiable appetite for songs about weed. This horribly limited subject matter and uncool audience -- middle-class-and-up teenagers who think the state of the world "blows" -- means the band is a joke to those who pride themselves as hip or having taste. What's fascinating is how, left to their own devices, the Kings have rolled on uninfluenced by anyone like Radiohead, Avril Lavigne, or the Neptunes and live in a world where the Beastie Boys never made it to Paul's Boutique. The hooks and their delivery are both simple and effective, while the rapping is serviceable and delivered with plenty of conviction, more than enough to let you know they really don't care what naysayers think. Tracks run from rocking, weed-smoking anthems with aggressive rapping and loud backing tracks ("Where's the Weed At?" being king of them all) to chilled, plaintive numbers that question what's wrong with this crazy world while sounding a bit like Mike Shinoda's Fort Minor project. In between are a few suburban reggae numbers and a handful of buzzed downtempo tracks with hippie flavor. Greatest Highs does a great job of shuffling the styles and picking the best numbers, making this two-disc set flow better than expected considering the very redundant subject matter and thin songwriting. With 39 tracks, newcomers need to slice it in halves or fourths, and with 37 of these tracks being previously released, the fans only get "2 New Joints." Still, with all the filler that clogs their regular albums removed, the Kottonmouth Kings sound a lot more fun. It's unsubstantial, irony-free, dumb fun that divides the world into things that "suck" (cops, Republicans, and parents who just don't understand) and "rule" (weed, bongs, and the Kottonmouth Kings), but if that makes you curious or nostalgic for junior-high rebellion, this is the best get-in/get-out strategy the Kings have offered. ~ David Jeffries, Rovi

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