Album Review — 08 December 2009

toohoodBy Odeisel

B.G.’s career is something to be marveled at, with Hot Boy highs and heroin lows, but throughout his over 15 years he’s been generally consistent. At this point, he’s more elder statesman than street soldier and he seems ready to face down this phase and what generally happens to rappers at this stage. His new work, Too Hood To Be Hollywood, sets out to bare his stripes as a vet while still staking his claim to authenticity. The results are a bit mixed.

The album opens up well enough with “Fuck The Game Up” which serves as a slow speed retrospective on his career and his status in the rap game. It features splices of questions from many reporters and creates the atmosphere for the album. The following song “I Swar” begins his answer to those questions with another slow speed statement of gangster. A tried and true “what’s my name/who” am I track that finds B. Gizzle telling us how hard, read, and gutter he has always been.

The fun finally begins with a collabo between the dearly departed Soulja Slim, Lil Boosie, and surprisingly cross Nawlin’s C-Murder who surprisingly bodies this.  It’s fairly strange to hear C-Murder rap shit that probably contributed to how juries felt about him and got him locked. Boosie’s delivery almost has him sounding like he’s someone else. Slim is really just there in spirit on the sample but a very solid posse cut held down by C-Murder and Gizzle.

The NO bounce appears for the first time with “Fuckin U Right.” It’s here that you first hear about pill popping and things of that nature and if you know his history with drugs, it’s a bit disconcerting, but it’s a good song nonetheless as BG brags about his sex game and tells some unsuspecting lil’ mama with a lame dude that Gizzle does it better. That’s immediately followed by the feel good Manny Fresh produced “My Hood.”  It’s not a great song, but hearing that trademark Mannie bounce is dope.  This song however echoes pretty much the same sentiment as the opening two tracks and you start noticing that there may not be much more to this album thematically.

A very dope change of pace comes with the Rock & Roll feel of “Hit The Block & Roll.” The joint really breaks the monotony sonically and delivery-wise deviates from the hater talk, even though as usual B.G. is chained to the block. This song is followed by the disturbing “Like Yeah” which  features the following:

Don’t trip…bitch I’m out my kufi, don’t look at me too long cause I will use this baby uzi/Like yeah…cause I’m out my top, higher than everybody that’s at Woodstock

Aside from the violence which is par for the course, you worry about B.G. and all the high talk. Beating a heroin addiction to succumb to pills or other recreational drugs is not a victory, but a choice between a bullet or a knife. Not judging his life, but hoping that in this instance it’s just music and talk and nothing more. “Looking for the pill man for more pills to pop” is not something that we want to see happen to a Hip-Hop legend.

The album slows back down with “Fuck Thang” which returns to the field previously tread by “Fucking U Right.”  Now that he has enticed shorty from her lame man, now she finds out the hard way that she knew what it was and that BG has a main squeeze. But the joke’s on B.G. as his relationship unfolds on Facebook and Twitter. Strip clubs be on the lookout for this one, for the bass and the chorus. The pedestrian flow and retread production of “Back To The Money” are bad enough but it again returns to the same “in them streets” feel of the early part of the album. Surely one great song could have replaced multiple versions of the same song and shortened this album.”Gutta Gutta” is a faster version of the same song that appears later on down the line. Ditto “Keep It 100.”

All the free Hot Boyz appear together along with Trey Songz on the hook with “Ya Heard Me.” Weezy rocks the annoying autotuned flow on the hook. BG says the same stuff he’s been talking all album and is bounced off this song by a vigorous performance by Juvenile who is lyrically and delivery-wise better than B.G. on this by a wide margin. Songz is forgettable in his performance, and Weezy hits it out the park batting clean-up on this track with sharp deceptively simple lines like “even if you was married you couldn’t do what I do.” He brings the track home properly.

Fresh returns with that Chopper City –styled bounce with “Chopper City Is An Army.” This is how B.G. should have reminded us about who he is: with execution of his trademarked coldness over Mannie Fresh’s pumping, bottom-heavy bounce. This is what you listen to Gizzle for and it’s certainly a highlight of the album. That same good old sound is present on “My Wrist Game Sick.” “Under Surveilance” also keeps the spirit of these songs even though in them it’s just like half the previous songs.

T.I. drops by for the anthemic “4 A Minute.”  T.I. plays Diddy for much of the song with ad-libs and crowd hyping contributions. It’s a bit disappointing due to lack of an actual verse from Tip, but it’s a solid song overall. “I Hustle” follows suit with the addition of Young Jeezy to the mix.  Dope beat, solid B.G. rhymes, but no verse from Jeezy to be found.

There’s nothing that is actually wack on this album, and B.G is a credible rapper with above average production.  But this album is at least five songs too long and the subject matter along with  too similar song construction on more than a couple songs makes listening to the album a chore.  There are some good high points and some that could have been higher but overall B.G. does enough to satisfy his fans and remind them why he’s a legend.  For non B.G. lovers, you will find yourselves hitting the double right arrow more than you would care to do.

black-thumbs-upblack-thumbs-upblack-thumbs-up 3.25 out of 5

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