Before we heard the Cashis of The County Hound 2 and The Art Of Dying, we banged out to the Shady Records-affiliated Cashis from Eminem's Re-Up compilation album and later The County Hound EP. To say that Cashis is a lyrical genius is a fabrication, but to say that he is a lovable gangsta emcee with real rapping skills is a known fact. He takes from his experiences making gritty street songs with Shady in crafting The County Hound 2 and keeps the production style of that period for it, even securing beats from the man Eminem himself. It is a pure street album with all too familiar rhymes approaching irrelevance until we hear the few songs on the album with deeper meaning.
The album starts out pretty flat with simmering beats and conventional raps about weed, money, women, guns, and the like, until things start bubbling up a little more for "Mind On Money" with its street smart lessons and stellar verses from Kuniva of D12 and Obie Trice. Unlike in Cashis's previous albums, he is more conceited here, spitting capo raps and bragging about his riches and sexual exploits, where he used to be more concerned with new ways to rhyme and concept songs. A lot of the County Hound 2 songs meld together and blend with each other because almost all of them are about the same subjects, tired thuggery and everything it entails. The Rikanatti produced beats range from hauntingly tepid to averagely jumpy, serving well to compliment the raps of either Cashis or his guests, who include Crooked I, King Los, Boaz, Demrick, Mistah F.A.B. and others.
When we come to the Eminem produced tracks, we hear Marshall's unique producing style shine through to help propel Cashis to the album's close. "Layin' In The Cut" has whiny, electronic horns over gentle piano and drum taps as Cashis raps about music and life and pays homage to Em and the late great Proof. "Thru The Glass," possibly the most important song on the album, drips with compassion as Cashis breaks down about how his criminal record has adversely affected his relationship with his daughter. What makes it more tearful is the soft, cinematic production from the combined efforts of Em and Rikanatti. Cash declares himself a threat in the streets and in the booth on the bold "Ask About Me," arranged with claps, serious piano and faint guitar plucks, and lastly, squealing synths and heavy trombone blare out like sirens for the swag infused "Cigarello."
Cashis proves on The County Hound 2 that his rapping game still has some substance, but he gets a little lazy with his rhymes and depends too much on hackneyed gangsterism. The beats cannot be taken to task but also cannot be celebrated as pioneering. Although he garners the help of legendary hip hop artist Eminem for some beats, the banal mediocrity of the hardcore gangster content here becomes obviously exhausted. Cashis is basking in his status while at the same time trying to figure out how to handle life. He seems so confused at points that he simply turns to indulging in his vices. Where as his earlier work included risky, creative experimentation that paid off, The County Hound 2 sticks to safe, albeit uninteresting, formulas revolving around themes of celebration and self.