Labeled by some as the second-coming of supergroup the Wu-Tang Clan, Harlem rap group the Diplomats have garnered the attention of the masses with their "pink movement." The group's leadoff man, Juelz Santana, has returned with his second solo album, What the Game's Been Missing!, backed by platinum plaque producing powerhouse Def Jam. Santana's first album, From Me to U, was crack to some, but panned critically. But now it's hip to like the Dips, and given Santana's recent increase in public visibility, it may be time for the Diplomats to hit it big.
Game's Been Missing! is evidence of Santana's drastic improvement since his first release. His flow is more varied, his voice more confident and he has mastered the art of likening oneself to crack-cocaine -- which makes for an abundance of memorable one-liners. Lyrically though, Santana manages to shirk the label of punchline rapper. On Game's Been Missing!, he runs the gamut on rap's themes.
The singles are the strength of the album. The first, "Mic Check," is an absolute burner. Santana darts his flow over, in between and around the clapping percussion of a triumphant Neo Da Matrix beat. "There It Go (the Whistle Song)" has one of the catchiest hooks in recent memory, while "Make It Work for You" features strong cameos from southern up-and-comers Young Jeezy and Lil Wayne.
With three volumes of his mixtape series, Back Like Cooked Crack, to choose from, as well as a song library that some speculate to be 500 songs deep, Juelz Santana has been on the grind since From Me To U. Perhaps though, he was too eager to share the fruits of his labor. The album is 22 tracks long and cuts should have been made to the more monotonously produced tracks (Sanatana spits fire throughout). Still, Santana proves that he is no longer under Cam'ron's mink-coat-covered wing and, in fact, may eclipse his mentor's celebrity. The movement has begun, Dipset bitch.