"Whitey Ford Sings the Blues" would have been easy to dismiss at first glance. Everlast spent his 15 minutes of fame as the lead rapper of House of Pain, and the CD title and cheesy opener ("The White Boy is Back") suggest he is stuck in an age when caucasian hip-hop was a new concept.
But Everlast throws in a killer change-up, revealing maturity and lyrical skill on the cautionary tale "Ends." Confounding the odds, Everlast rejuvenates himself from rap's scrap heap and fashions a new musical identity: The b-boy singer-songwriter.
"Whitey Ford" alternates hip-hop with guitar-based folk-soul, mixing in unlikely concoctions of Nine Inch Nails/Zeppelin riffing on "Hot to Death" and New Orleans piano rolls on "7 Years." It's a style found at the crossroads of Johnny Cash and Grandmaster Flash. Everlast indeed.