Remember that song "Ugly" that had you "throwin' 'bows" at the party and wishing you were from Hicktown, Georgia? Well, Bubba Sparxxx is back with a surprisingly soulful, funky sophomore effort, Deliverance. The instrumentation draws from Sparxxx's country background with heavy use of banjos, harmonicas and fiddles.

The energetic "Jimmy Mathis" employs harmonicas and heavy bass to create a distinctly Southern jook-joint feel. While Deliverance features instrumentation not commonly used in hip-hop, producer Timbaland's signature synth-beats provide a sonic, thumping backdrop. Sparxxx also experiments with replacing the plucky banjo of "Comin' Round" with amped-up rock guitars on "Back in the Mud."

Sparxxx's songs provide tremendous insight into his personality through lyrics about a rural upbringing, his own family and an aching broken heart. On "She Tried," he apologizes to a lost love. Sparxxx also avoids common hip-hop clich‚s about fast cars and gaudy jewelry in favor of lyrics that convey the stress of living without the bling. The soulful "Warrant," for instance, talks about trying to change a wayward life rather than relying on the common hip-hop crutch of glorifying crime. Admittedly, there are a few requisite songs about getting ass (the pulsating "Take A Load Off" featuring Justin Timberlake) and getting money ("Jimmy Mathis"), but these songs do not dominate the album.

While to the untrained listener, he may come off as something of a contrived competitor to that other white rapper, Sparxxx's appeal grows with further exposure: his definitive style will definitely make you forget about color and focus on talent instead.


All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.