Saturday, August 01, 2009

Album review: Fabolous - Loso's Way (3.5 / 5)

I may not be as much of a hip-hop fan as I use to be, but I still have my favorites: (Jay-Z, Kanye West and Lil' Wayne). Fabolous, I've always thought of as a very underrated artist--partly because of his more commercial peers becoming (or starting out) more mainstream. He's remained one of those hip-hop artists who keep the grit in their work, telling stories through their albums without the use of radio-friendly singles. If I were to compare, Jay-Z's had many--with "Excuse Me Miss" being the best of the bunch. Lil' Wayne's "Lollipop" and Kanye West and 50 Cent have too many to count. On, Loso's Way, Fabolous seems to descend into temptation a bit. Fabolous' last album, From Nothin' to Somethin', had the light and breezy single "Baby Don't Go" but for the most part was a pretty caustic album. Loso's Way, I think is his most accessible album yet--though not his best, I've always thought that title belonged to, Sweet Dreams (2003).

What makes, Loso's Way, more accessible that Fabolous' previous offerings is the album as a whole sounds more contemporary than you would think--which isn't a bad thing as there are moments of up straight hip-hop. The album opens with the 4 minute introduction "The Way" a horn, drum and bass studded number, whilst I'm pretty sure the lyrics serve up some deep undertones, I'm surprised the intro drags on for so long--this his only one to do so, the From Somethin' to Nothin' introduction, was half as long.

The intro then descends into "My Time" Featuring new R&B singer, Jeremih (famous for his recent hit "Birthday Sex."). It thumps a slick bassline--backed with recurrent 808 drum machine, there are also some bells incorporated introducing a haunting element. The subject matter should be obvious, the song talks about Fabolous' time to shine, also noting some specific influences from Biggie Smalls, P. Diddy and Busta Rhymes. Jeremih puts in a good verses too. Following is "Imma Do It" and "Feel Like I'm Back" which feels like they've been cut from the same generic hip-hop sound, but "Feel Like I'm Back" is a pretty nice number--showing Fabolous the business man ("I take my ladies hand, I shake my eternie's").

The next couple tracks (seven to be specific) are all star studded--which shouldn't be surprise as features seem to a must in all hip-hop albums. Keri Hilson pops up on "Everything, Everyday, Everywhere" an empowering number, I really like the chorus, which Hilson's delivers so brilliantly--with Hilson's appearence on the track, it shouldn't be so surprising that it sounds very R&B. Not a bad tune for the summer either.

Fabolous acquires his "Excuse Me Miss" or "Lollipop" so-to-speak, on the albums lead single "Throw It In the Bag," which features The-Dream. It's a light piano key and bass backed number--it does what "Baby Don't Go" did for, From Somethin' to Nothin', which is giving the album a more contemporary feel. I actually prefer this to "Baby Don't Go" -- definately among favorites on here, but possibly among the most outstanding is "Money Goes, Honey Stay (When the Money Goes Remix" which features non other than Jay-Z. Upon initiall listens to the album, the (apart from the stunning Jay-Z hook up) I was excited for the anthem styled "Salute" which features Lil' Wayne, but eneded falling short, Fabolous sounds good and so does the beat, but Wayne sounds hoarse. Sad, this could've been a highlight.

"There He Go" is another track I really like. It's produced by the Blackout Movement, a Florida based, production crew, who are known most for producing fellow hip-hop star's Mims' US chart topper "This Is Why I'm Hot." "There He Go" is a very intricuite number, the beat is quiet but sharp and Fabolous' laid back rap style on here is a plus. Ryan Leslie features (and also acquires producing credits) on "The Fabolous Life." Leslie, is among favorite R&B and hip-hop producers, I first heard his work through R&B singer Cassie's "Me & U" in 2006. "Fabolous Life" is a jaunty piano backed number, I really like the breezy chorus.

Ne-Yo appears on the raunchy "Makin' Love." Possibly one of the most specific desciptions about the process of sex I've ever heard in a song. Normally every time Ne-Yo makes an appearence on an album, it usually ends up being the albums biggest highlight--unfortunately that's not the case here. "Last Time" with Trey Songz is a light number hovering over a slikc JD produced beat. It's pretty melody stricken, it's not a favorite but it does hold some appeal.

The albums title is named after Fabolous' own feature film, which takes influences from Al Pacino's vehicle, Carlito's Way, which is the backstory behind the track "Pachanga" named after the character. "Stay" with Marsha Ambrosius is an admition into fatherhood, it's a pretty heartfelt number. Possibly showing signs that the album could've done with some trimming, is the last couple of tracks somewhat drag on the album without being productive.

Loso's Way, may not be as good as, From Nothin' to Somethin', it's still racks up as one of the finest hip-hop albums I've heard in awhile. It's a solid body of work, holding some compelling highlights, but it does have its clunkers which do indeed bring down the album as a whole--but my 3.5 rating isn't that far of a 4.

Best: Money Goes, Honey Stay, Throw It In the Bad, There He Go, Stay, The Fabolous Life

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