Few rap albums could truly be classified as epic, but if Red1 doesn’t try, then a kilo isn’t a thousand grams, or easy to remember.
Beg for Nothing clocks in at 75 minutes, but with an epic length comes an epic amount of filler. Beg for Nothing is Red1’s solo debut–his first breakaway work from seminal Vancouver rap outfit the Rascalz–and it’s plagued with inconsistencies. Sometimes it’s mind-blowing in its musicality, but at others, frustrating in its pacing. When he’s at his best, Red1 channels the fierce political nature of ’80s rap. “Living in a Shanty” is based in his experiences in the Third World, where he watched families eking out a pitiful existence in shantytowns. For every one of these interesting songs, there are two of the most pitiful, eye-rolling tracks meant to establish his rap cred. “Run Shit” is a particularly abysmal low, with it’s pedestrian chorus of “Run this bitch / west side / run this shit / east side.”
The best songs on the album are lovingly crafted, with multi-layered soundscapes and complex reggae-tinted beats that would leave a lesser rapper stuttering.
Beg for Nothing could have been distilled into a more interesting and cohesive whole. Unfortunately, its length makes it boring and lacking in originality overall, despite brief moments of brilliance.