Avatar Young Blaze recently dropped his third full-length mixtape, Russian Revolution. The term “mixtape” is a little misleading because all three LP’s (get ’em here, here and here) feature all-original production and fairly well-conceived (if also repetitive) collections of gangsta rap menace.

A controversial figure in Seattle hip-hop, the now Southern California-relocated Avatar constantly has to shake haters, doubters, jealous-ones, and what-have-you, off of his jock. The reasons for having to do so are fairly obvious. Just look at his picture.

He’s as white as the freshly driven snow and, minus the perpetual sneer, would be a dead-ringer for a former child movie star. Instead, Av claims to have come up hard in the Central District, a child of Russian immigrants. His lyrics (and raw music videos) suggest gang-affiliated street life are a daily operation. A typical Avatar ‘tape is a lyrical wrecking ball that bludgeons the skeptical listener into a state of numbed submission.

It took three albums of Av’s relentless barrage to make a believer out of 206UP.COM. (Unfortunately, much of the doubt stemmed from judging a book — one that hadn’t been thoroughly read — by its cover. Av has a song for online journalists of this condition.). Russian Revolution finds Avatar sounding his most agile, versatile and focused. At 14 tracks, it’s also the shortest of his ‘tapes which helps to lesson the ambivalence one feels by the end of his other albums.

Avatar’s brand of gangsta rap is not for everyone. Some might think he’s a one-trick pony, others might still think he’s a tourist. At this point, three LP’s deep and with experts in the field of hip-hop confirming his origins, it’s not worth questioning his legitimacy. All that’s left to do is put the gloves up and try to stay out of his way.

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