Fabolous' new album promised '90s inspiration and style, but does it deliver?
Fabolous has always done a solid job at blending in with his environment. Whether he’s cutting with DJ Clue and The Neptunes in 2001 or jiving with Rich Homie Quan in 2015, he’s done a phenomenal job at adapting to change and staying relevant, something that is easier said than done.
That being said, if you’re adapting to trends, you probably aren’t the one creating them, and Fabolous has never been one to really break ground in hip-hop. Even so, there's no denying that he's kept himself afloat over the years, and he's delivered solid music to a fanbase that has steadily grown over the last 15 years. Thus, although we might not except anything exceptionally innovative from Fab, we do except a certain strength in any release he puts out.
With that said, this is more of the same from Fabolous, but on the weaker side of the spectrum. Nothing is on fire here, and nothing is comparable to his classic joints like "Deny It," or even the better cuts off Loso's Way, and despite dropping the album on Christmas, The Young OG Project doesn’t feel like as much of a present as The Soul Tapes did.
This is like getting a pair of socks in a Nike shoe box. Let’s peep this joint one by one:
“Lituation” isn’t terrible, but it isn’t very good either: tolerable at best, but also forgettable.
Rich Homie Quan’s feature is solid and the beat is pretty chill. Fabolous does his best Drake-meets-Young Thug impression.
“All Good” samples Notorious B.I.G. and the beat, again, is not horrible. Ultimately, it would work better as an instrumental.
The Chase N. Cashe beat is cool, but doesn’t really gel with weak lyrics:
“Your boy tried to fuck me over, thought we was homies
Guess he was a h-o-e when I say hoemies
Niggas get some money then act like they don't know me
Got a new phone, cut off the old phonies
They ain't never pick up for me when I used to call
And they ain't never pass the 'roc when they used to ball
And they ain't never help me up when I used to fall
Kept tryna do it big, fuck gettin' used to small
After the success it's like yes they used to know me
Now it ain't no 'Neneh nigga, I got Naomi
Shoulda paid attention before you nigga owe me
Since you down there on your knees, go ahead and blow me
Suck a dick, tell a hater suck a dick
Just a hood nigga that hit a fuckin' lick
I keep my head up and I ain't never duckin' shit
I'm self made, I don't owe a mother fucker shit, boi”
And so the trend continues, with c-list beats ripping off '90s hip-hop songs in a style as unoriginal as the mere concept of it.
A rehashed version of Nas’ “Oochie Wally” featuring Chris Brown isn’t going to impress anybody. It can be a fun party song, but it isn’t the most interesting thing you’ll see surfing the web for the next half-hour.
One of the most solid beats on the album comes from OZ and The Mekanics, who lace French Montana and Fab with a decent (but not exactly awesome) beat. The two fail to say anything at all with the verses, unfortunately.
“This the new year resolution
We gotta be the winners cause the rest is losin'
I told em get money, that's the best solution
When you do, wear your rocket like you rest in Houston
When niggas stole my style, I ain't stress the boostin'
It's time to make more money, less excuses
My old bitch on death row, it's time for execution
My new bitch is bad ass, she the best since Boosie”
“Bish Bounce” is just a weak attempt to use Kendrick Lamar's not-so-fresh variation of everybody’s least favorite slang for a female while biting that monotone Young Thug/Drake style everyone is on currently.
In “Rap & Sex,” Fabolous claims he practically lives in his studio, making it all the more mind-boggling it’s taken him 5 years to follow up Loso’s Way.
“Gone For Winter” takes a familiar sample from Nas’ Illmatic, along with an R&B hook, to do nothing more than remind you to play Illmatic later if you want to hear some classic rap.
The most solid song on the album is “Cinnamon Apple” featuring comedian Kevin Hart. Fabolous keeps a linear story going with this one, and it’s the first time his verses actually command your attention. Hart provides a little comedic relief from an otherwise mediocre album.
The final song clocks in at 6 minutes long, taken up by a super long intro and an outro featuring a song Kanye sampled on “On Sight.”
While Loso did accomplish his mission of harkening back to '90s hip-hop with his sample usage, these are barely crate-digging "samples"-- they're pretty blatant and unoriginal. Hundreds of MCs have spit over some rehashed Nas, and most of them fail. If your name is Fabolous, you need not concern yourself with attaching mediocrity to your name in 2015.
The entire thing is comprised of surface level, basic rhymes. Maybe we should have expected that, as Fabolous himself did say, "It's kind of like a vanity project. I kept getting these beats that were inspired by '90s records, so I just busted some raps on top of 'em. I felt like I'm a good person to represent that because I've been around since the late 90s, and I'm still putting out music, 15 years later."