Jason Randall Smith
Street Liquor and Street Knowledge
At face value, The BumRush is a day in the life in Miami through the eyes of Julio Linares a.k.a. CTraffik. It’s an existence filled with empty 40-ounce bottles, females with plentiful backsides, and more of the same. Upon closer inspection, this 2002 debut release is a testament to the persistent spirit of the independent artist. Recorded while he was still in high school, CTraffik expresses an understanding of the world around him (namely the hood of Lil’ Havana) far beyond what his age would suggest. He also proves to be a double threat musically, spitting rhymes with equal parts hunger and swagger while holding it down on production as well. The instrumental backing is vibrant and diverse, ranging from the ominous slow ride tones of “Catch Me Creepin’” to the dirty South double time bounce of “(Miami) Luvin Dis’.”
The high school hormones waste no time seizing control of this album, delivering a double-shot of decadence with “No Señor” and “Dat Ass (Feelin Like).” The first relays a trio of failed pick-up stories from the bar over Latin-flavored drums and percussion. Its follow-up slows things down to bump and grind speed, accentuating the low-end bass to compliment CTraffik’s devotion to the derriere. With “Dem Mutz” leaving nothing to the imagination (“My car is like the Bang Bus, except without the cameras”), one can expect the ladies to be up in arms. However, this fact is not lost on Linares, who takes a minute to allow them to voice their opinion on a skit entitled “Girls Gone Wild.” Holding nothing back, they give CTraffik the business (“It’s because of chicos like that that women invented fake orgasms!”).
T&A factor aside, The BumRush is far more than an ode to street liquor and nice butts. It’s only a matter of time before what’s fleeting gets put aside in order to examine bigger issues. “No Lie” asks some tough questions regarding organized religion and makes his final stance clear when he states, “I don’t believe in heaven or hell. Does this song bother you?” Politically speaking, the more things change, the more they stay the same. With Arizona’s new immigration law sparking controversy and debate, several songs from CTraffik’s debut are as timely as ever. “Ole Ole Ole” speaks towards the hypocritical nature of deporting Latinos when everyone other than Native Americans can be considered immigrants. The urgency of the horn hits in “This Is For My…” forces the listener to take heed to his verses. Billed in the liner notes as “The Ghetto Emancipation Proclamation,” the song is a defiant reminder for his people to take advantage of every opportunity despite the racism that persists within their communities.
This album falls somewhere between the uncompromising flow of Fat Joe and the hyperkinetic energy of Cypress Hill. With a pair of new albums slated for 2010, it’s easy to see how The BumRush was the springboard from which other collaborations and mixtape appearances would follow. His love for hip-hop and for Miami can be felt throughout the album and it should be considered an important release within CTraffik’s career.
Review by Jason Randall Smith