The Soul Tape 2 has its mistakes and cracks but is overshadowed by Fabolous' strength on the mic and the guests he brings on for the features.
Fabolous hasn't released a studio album since 2009 but has dropped four strong mixtapes in the three years since, the latest of which was The Soul Tape 2, a mixtape that should convince label heads to give Fabolous the distribution he deserves.
The first two tracks are dope and gives hope that this will be a classic mixtape by the Brooklyn rapper, but then he segways into "Bite,"an unimaginative, weak song that seems out of place beat and lyric-wise with the tracks that come before and after it. It's truly the only weak song on an otherwise solid tape. Fabolous goes solo on the next two tracks, letting us into his life, his recent struggles and successes, and allows the listener to see the rapper behind the smoke and mirrors (or the reality show and the cameras). The first six tracks are commendable, allowing Fabolous to showcase his skills on the mic; the witty wordplay and quick-fire rhymes he has within lines is to be admired but by the end of the sixth track, he seems to be losing himself.
That's when the features come in. With J. Cole, Pusha T, Wale, and Joe Budden hopping on the album to help out Fabolous, it strengthens the whole tape. Fabolous seems to be the main pillar but he tends to get wobbly and the assistance from his fellow MC's, the supporting pillars, helps him out considerably, glossing over the cracks.
The tape doesn't seem to be as cohesive as it should be, as it loses its continuity somewhere in the middle, but makes a resurgent comeback in the end. The beats aren't the tightest or the strongest throughout and sound too similar by the end of the tape - a facet that a studio could definitely help with. At times, the choruses do seem repetitive and one-dimensional but the verses by Fabolous and his guests come off so strong that they're overshadowed. The last three tracks, "Diced Pineapples," "Beauty," and "Want You Back" are instant hits with Fabolous' clever verses being outshone by each tracks feature - listen for Joe Budden's verse and the mixtape's last on "Want You Back".
Overall, this was a dope tape that had mistakes and negatives that every non-studio tape would encounter. Fabolous' skills are showcased brilliantly throughout the tape, reminding everyone how strong of an MC the Brooklyn-born rapper still is. Though the features are prominent and help the tape chug along, it's Fabolous' solo tracks where he pours everything out when you really get hooked in and can't stop listening.