Bay Area rapper Paulie Rhyme comes across like the kind of guy who's not shy about divulging his personal ups and downs. On Less Than Zero, he spits rhymes full of intimate details that, at their best, come through with richly complex wordplay.
Cuts like "Classic" point to the high points of Rhyme's existence, like his obsession with music and crate digging for vinyl. His spirits then take a dip on "You and I (The Way)," which details his regrettable slip into an extramarital affair. Rhyme also imparts some nuggets of advice on "Put It Up," when he raps about the importance of keeping connected to your loved ones.
Getting to know Rhyme certainly works better than the alternative. On "Indeed" and "So Sick" he takes an unfortunate and played-out detour by rapping about rap and the dopeness of his rhymes.
Less Than Zero includes decent and heartfelt moments, but it's never mindblowing. If Rhyme injected more intricacy into his lyrics, and ditched the bragging, I'd consider this easier to recommend.
Paulie Rhyme plays KGBA's Fools Night Out Friday, April 9, at 9 PM at the Palace. $5.