It would be nice if we always got what we expected. That the whole would always be at least be the sum of its parts. Unfortunately that’s not always the case. In this world of Hip-Hop it’s generally the opposite. We inhabit a realm where image is everything and while it’s no longer directed by Hype, it’s still generally driven by hype.
Fabolous is an emcee that has certainly stood the test of time. He’s got the look; generally always at the forefront of style and fashion. He’s also very slick and talented lyrically, and his resume boasts quite a few big hits over the years. But you generally feel unfulfilled by his output, specifically his albums. He’s not hard enough on wax to warrant a hardcore following.
He’s too raw to really go all the way metro. His subject matter is fairly repetitive. You’re always happy to see him, and you wonder where he is when you don’t have him, but you don’t long for a Fab album. After signing to Def Jam, The Brooklyn Don has jumped into a much larger pool, and the expectations are higher, especially after such a long hiatus. He’s done videos, he’s done tours, bodied a few collabo’s here and there and is even filming a movie to accompany his new album Loso’s Way. Does he deliver?
The album begins like a movie, complete with the mellow voice intro and a pseudo media frenzy on the red carpet surrounding his release. The prevailing question asked by a reporter is “what do you have to say about the way you’ve been treated throughout your career?” It seems Fab too is aware that his skill level may warrant a higher threat level than he’s been given. The opening track brings a different cadence, no longer trying to be overly smooth, but simmering with a new defiance. This song seems to be his declaration of independence, stating how he’s gone most of his journey without assistance from the Diddy’s and the Jay-z’s and the other heavy hitters. You can hear that his being taken lightly bothers him and this theme repeats itself throughout the album.
Fab is famous for his punch lines and this album is not a departure from his staple. However there are a few belly aching lines in the album that aren’t his best work. Perhaps it can be attributed to his maturing delivery but a few lines were beneath his history.
“Salute” is the obligatory Lil Wayne collabo that has become almost a necessity on every East Coast rapper trying to maintain their relevance. Results are mixed. The marching band flavor of the song is eccentric and Wayne delivers more than the house rapper, but I don’t know that this song makes much noise out of blog fodder.
“My Time” has all the makings of a solid song, at least until the the autotune-assisted Jeremih’s contribution. Pedestrian at best with a blend of talky faux singing that echoed but proved ultimately inferior to Chris Brown on Nas’ “We Make The World Go Round.” In similar good but self -diminishing fashion “Money Goes Honey Stay” short circuits itself by professing to be a Jay0z guest spot, but Hov only delivers the chorus. Nobody likes a cock teaser and this song creates an expectation that cannot be fulfilled without a Hov verse.
One shining moment of the album, in terms of growth is the track “Stay” featuring the immaculate Marsha Ambrosius. In “Stay,” Fab speaks on the responsibility of fatherhood and gives a look into his life beyond the cars, the jewels, and bullshit that rappers flaunt to poor people who can’t afford them. It’s honestly not a song I thought I would ever hear from him so true genuine props go out for this song for both the subject matter and having the courage to give a piece of himself. Sounds normal but it’s increasingly rare in the present landscape.
Two slow songs in a row towards the end really derailed the album’s energy. Not that they are particularly bad songs but after such a lay-off you want to hear Loso, and not Trey Songz (“Last Time”) and Ne-Yo (“Makin’ Love”) back to back.
Production weakens this album. There aren’t many speed changes on the album, too many autotune-powered choruses and too many slow songs that blend together. The overall production is a reflection of everything hot from the last 3 years but while passable, it doesn’t complement Loso’s style or his rhyme schemes. His rhymes are harder but the beats are softer.
He’s not sing-songy enough to bounce on the beats and the techno sounds don’t allow breathing space for his punches to resonate. Tracks with Dream and Keri Hilson sound no different from any of the other songs they’ve done. The albums aren’t arranged to take advantages of Fab’s two sides. There are too many R & B songs next to each other in too many places.
Where Fab betrays himself is that he doesn’t expand on himself as an emcee(aside from “Stay”). He gives you exactly what you expect and while that’s satisfying and dependable like McDonald’s, it will not convert anyone or allow for his growth past the very limits that people place on him.
Loso’s Wayis by no means a bad album. In pieces each of these songs could stand on their own and be a perfectly serviceable Fabolous Track X. There are a few lines that make you smile and give respect. Bound together as a body of work however, it’s a very slow album without the energy and the fun that characterized much of Fab’s previous work. That fun is what makes Fabolous pop, but if Loso gets his way, the party is over and this new Fab may not have the energy to carry us.
Out Of Five
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