Old School Review: ONE DAY IT’LL ALL MAKE SENSE by Common

Years ago, back in ’92, Common rapped,

“Cause after awhile, I’ma wanna get BUCKwild
And now months laters, I’ma say it ain’t my child
I’m sterile girl, we ain’t never did nothin
Cause only you and I know that the Common Sense is bluffin”

But in “97, Common sings a different tune. To give you some background information, Common and his girlfriend at the time found out that she was pregnant. And Common was not a financially successful rapper and he didn’t feel mentally prepared to raise a kid. His contemplations about abortion and his regrets are chronicled in “Retrospect for Life”. The song has two verses; one directed to his unborn child and one directed to his baby’s mama. Common acknowledges his mistakes (“Nerve I got to talk about them n*ggas with a gun/ Must’ve really thought I was God to take the life of my son”) but also explains his fears of letting his child suffer a turbulent life.

One Day It’ll All Make Sense is possibly Common’s most personal album, as he explains in the opening track. It is also one of his attempts to achieve some commercial success. One may speculate this as half-heartedness but despite the mainstream-friendliness, the album is actually quite a sincere effort. The production is much more expansive and the lyrics, while not on the same level as Resurrection, are still top-notch.

Common’s concept is to take you on a trip down memory lane and some songs do illustrate the point. “Reminding Me (Of Sef)” is a reminiscence of good times and a fallen friend. “G.O.D.” discusses finding God through personal experiences rather than through Sunday service. The “whodunit” trilogy, “Stolen Moments” recalls a time when Common got robbed and tried to figure out who committed the crime. The trilogy is surprisingly a well-constructed mystery whose twist at the end actually made sense.

But, like every other hip hop concept album, it is a loose concept as there are several songs that deviate from the concept. For the most part, however, these deviations are entertaining. “Real N*gga Quotes” may be Common at his angriest. “Making a Name for Ourselves” is an interesting one since it does not sound like something Common would do. In fact, his guest star, Canibus, seems more fit for a dark beat like this. But both make indelible impressions:

[Common]

I can tell by how you write, you the type to run in a fight
I hold mics while you hold spite
Like a broken hearted b*tch
Don’t give no f*ck who yo team or who you startin with
Cameoed or charted with, I house n*ggas like apartments with
Mic mechanisms, I dissect a rhythm
Move crowds with kinetic wisdom
It’s like a Malcolm X-orcisim, f*ck the rhythm, I hit him
I want him got not get him, auction his wack ass off, then bid him

[Canibus]

From a poisonous algorithm liable to kill ’em
My style will get in ’em, way up in ’em
My face don’t belong in The Source
It belongs on the shroud of turan, for certain
I grab mics and murder sh*t
It’s wickeder than Satan worshippers going to Catholic church services
You heard of this
The lyrical verbalist, trash herbalist
The wrath of my cold-blooded verses is merciless
Rap snap, get your ass cracked like bear traps
Contaminate your air sacs like tear gas
And I swear black, try to battle me, you won’t last
I’ll turn your ass into the artist formerly known as, you gay ass f*g
I’ll blow you to ashes with tactics
Strip you naked, then make you hug a cactus, you bastard

A couple times, the deviations feel lacking and at times pointless. “Food for Funk” features semi-decent verses while “All Night Long”, the very first Common-Erykah Badu collaboration, gets boring. It’s moments like these that tarnish an otherwise consistent album whose conventional tactics don’t feel compromising. Back then, fans accused Common of straying from his roots. But in reflection, this is Common’s career statement. As an MC and as a man, this is his most insightful record. This is his transition record from the young b-boy Common Sense to the wise MC Common.

This album is also noteworthy as the last album No I.D. and Common would record anything together for 14 years. Common would then move to New York to work with the Soulquarians (a hip hop super-supergroup of conscious artists like The Roots, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, J Dilla, Talib Kweli, Bilal, among others). And in New York, Common would start his next era as an artist and make some of the most experimental music he ever made.

Rating: 8.75/10

Old School Review: RESURRECTION by Common

Somewhere between 1992 and 1993, something just snapped in Common. Rather than continue the quick-tongued goofy raps from Can I Borrow A Dollar?, the man chose a fresh start instead. No more simple braggadocio. This time, Common chooses to be smarter and construct his rhymes in a much more consistent flow. Witness the opening verse of “Resurrection” and it is clear to see that Common is going all out:

I stagger in the gathering possessed by a patter-in
That be scatterin
Over the global my vocals be travellin
Unravellin my abdomen it’s slime that’s babblin
Grammatics that are masculine
I grab them in, verbally badgerin broads
I wish that Madelline, was back on Video LP
I went against all odds and got it even steven
Proceed to read and not believin everything I’m readin
But my brain was bleedin, needin feedin, and exercise
I didn’t seek the best of buys, it’s a lie to textualize
I analyze where I rest my eyes
And chastise the best of guys with punchlines
I’m Nestle when it’s Crunch-time
For your mind like one time
If poetry was p*ssy I’d be sunshine
cause I deliver like the Sun-Times
Confined in once-mines on dumb rhymes I combine
I’m hype like I’m unsigned, my diet I unswine
Eatin beef sometimes I try to cut back on that sh*t
This rap sh*t is truly outta control
My style is too developed to be arrested
It’s the freestyle, so now it’s out on parole
They tried to hold my soul in a holding cell so I would sell
I bonded with a break and had enough to make bail
A misdemeanor fell on his knee for the jury
I asked No for his ID and the judge thought there was two of me
Motion for a recess to retest my fingerprints
They relinquished since, cause I was guilty in a sense

The punchlines are smarter and the rhyme schemes are much more complex. Common manages to work an extended metaphor in the last eight bars. But Common’s true moment of artistry comes in the next track and arguably his most famous one: “I Used to Love H.E.R.”. It starts off as seemingly a reminiscence of a past love who became richer and more materialistic. But piece the clues together and one understands that this “love” is actually an extended metaphor for hip hop. No ID’s jazzy and ominous beat evokes both nostalgia and loss as Common spits the greatest hip hop tale ever told.

On his last album, the two singles were the strongest tracks. But on this album, almost every track is excellent. I say “almost” because “Orange Pineapple Juice” seems out of place here as it features more of Common’s Can I Borrow A Dollar? style. Yet lyrically, Common stands at arguably his strongest ever. His raps are much more deeper and personal. He recalls times of lazing around with friends in “Nuthin’ to Do” and struggling with self identity in “Book of Life”. Common also confronts the criticism that he isn’t a hardcore rapper in the aptly-titled “thisisme”.

On the production end, No I.D. experiences his own resurrection, electing to produce more polished beats that were still heavily influenced by jazz. And there are those moments where the production truly sounds masterful. The funk gets funkier and samples are implemented seamlessly. And “Communism” is an effective jazz-funk composition that (in my opinion) is No ID’s best beat on this album that isn’t “I Used to Love H.E.R.”. Fans claim that Resurrection is No ID’s finest hour. And truthfully, it is very much a valid claim.

Resurrection is Common’s transition from Unsigned Hype to hip hop legend. This album is the reason why he is one of the most beloved rappers in hip hop history. Sadly, this album only sold around 2000 copies. So one of Common’s biggest irks remains unanswered: why is he not your favorite emcee?

Rating: 9.5/10

Old School Review: CAN I BORROW A DOLLAR? by Common

In 1991, Common (at that time, known as Common Sense) was listed in the Unsigned Hype column of The Source and the young MC immediately garnered label attention and signed with Relativity Records. In 1992, he released his debut, Can I Borrow A Dollar? to little to no success (the album only sold 2000 copies). It is an underrated effort but by no means, a great one.

Before 1993, Common’s rhyme style was heavy on sing-song, quick tongue, pop culture, and goofiness. For example, “Take It EZ” features some memorable bars:

I be kickin it with the doubly-dope rhymer
I’m trippin-and-dippin-and-slippin with the rhyme like Sli-mer
[Who ya gonna call?] Ghostbuster
I’m pee-wee we stole, and I’m just a
Hustler, I tried to scheme for a sec
But the record got wreck, tried to write a bad check
So I checked myself, before self got buck
wild, tried to live how I had to fluctuate
To a snake, and metriculate, yo I had to elevate
You can tell it’s great, cause I’m state
of 87, the South side of Chicago

[…]

And it’s phat, sorta like Oprah before she lost weight
I put my rhymes in good hands, hey like All State
And I’m all in a state of ease, utopia
I’m the Spiderman, givin bug MC’s arachnaphobia
Holy-molia, it’s totally awesome
The survey say, I gets moe skins than Richard Dawson
But I won’t catch mono or no type of disease
Cause when I flex, for sex, I do it on the ease

Miles away from the Common we know today. Miles away from the Common who made Resurrection. In fact, Common’s immature moments came from here. “Heidi Hoe” features some scathing remarks that are as misogynistic as “B*tches Ain’t Sh*t”. The song also features a homophobic yet quite frankly hilarious line (“Homo is a no-no/ So f*ggots stay solo”). Still, the fact that it came from a conscious hip hop MC is startling. But one must understand that the man was still young, only 20 years old when the album came out. So do forgive him when he says, “Just dog the b*tch”.

It is an interesting view of the rapper’s earlier raps and an important part of his career. And there are some great songs on this album like “Take It EZ” and “Breaker 1/9”. No I.D. (formerly known as Immenslope) and Common have a memorable duet in “Two Scoops of Raisins”. Unlike most Common albums, there is no actual subject matter. Everything Common says on this album is mostly braggadocio and there are far too many high pitch spots that get distracting. But the rhymes themselves are fun to listen to.

Can I Borrow A Dollar? is not a bad effort. Lyrically, Common is at his funniest and some of his best punchlines are present on this album. The production, however, is largely a disappointment. While “Take It EZ”, “Breaker 1/9”, and “Just in the Nick of Rhyme” have strong production, the rest ranges from average to bland as a young No I.D. is clearly in his learning phase. And that is the best way to describe Common’s debut: a learning phase.

Rating: 7/10

The Review: GOD FORGIVES, I DON’T by Rick Ross

“Big” is not enough for Ross. Reality is not exciting for him. Despite a revelation that could have killed his career, Ross has continued to make music, increasing the extravagance and ridiculousness on every album. He opened his last album saying these immortal words:

If I die today, remember me like John Lennon/

Buried in Louis, I’m talkin all brown linen/

Make all my b*tches tattoo  my logo on their t*tty/

Put a statue of a n*gga in the middle of the city/

Yet as exaggerated as his music as his, the man has become a more appealing and possibly, iconic, figure. Who else could rap about a cocaine empire when his past shows otherwise? Who else could have survived such a shocking revelation and become even more successful? Who else had one of the most recognizable faces to use as a logo? And which other musician would have called a special press conference when a simple blog post would have sufficed? Only Rick Ross. Because a simple blog post does not fit in his world of movie-inspired celebrity mobsters living the high life of cars, jewels, and women. For him, everything has to be done big.

Sometimes the grand schemes get overwhelming, though, and the hype becomes intolerable. Diddy (who still continues his search for the next Biggie) praised Ross as one of the “greats”. Lyor Cohen compared Ross to Jay-Z and Nas. L.A. Reid even has a small appearance on the album. The overhyping efforts have thus tarnished the loftiness and exaggeration of Ross’ universe such that GFID now feels like a product of hype rather than an album that aims for greater heights than its excellent predecessor.

Make no mistake: the album carries some promising but eventually disappointing moments. After a great first half of ambition and atmosphere, Ross panders into familiar territory to make up for the streets in the mediocre “Hold Me Back”. “Presidential” should have been something more adventurous but it ends sounding like a track that never made it on Trilla or Deeper than Rap. But Ross’ personal best achievement thus far, “3 Kings”, is easily one of the most disappointing big-name collaborations in a while. Dr. Dre is still stuck on the idea that he is still f*cking Dr. Dre in a time where he is becoming a memory as Detox continues to be vaporware legend. Ross sounds unprepared, overwhelmed for the first time in four years. And Jay sounds like he couldn’t really give a f*ck (he did admit in the song that his verse was just a freestyle).

Maybe the most disappointing aspect of it all is Ross’ rapping. After vast improvements shown on Deeper Than Rap that continued to increase with every subsequent release, Ross seems to have mostly gone back to square one. The man who had some of the best guest verses from 2010 to 2012 sounds trite and confused. There are moments when Ross shows his full vitality and moments where he slinks into mediocrity. The man seems less fearsome when just a few months ago, a guest verse of Nas’ “Accident Murderers” and earlier, a mixtape titled Rich Forever, proved to be the opposite. On his own album, most of his guests surpass him mightily.

Overall, God Forgives, I Don’t can be enjoyed in bits and pieces. Where the beats may be great, the rapping may be sub-par. Where the beats may be average, the rapping will be fantastic. Then there are those songs where the beats and the rapping are both stellar. Sadly, an album is graded mostly on consistency and the lack of it makes this a tame release in comparison to his previous efforts.

Rating: 6.50/10

Special: TOP 20 WORST RAPPERS EVER

For every great rapper, there are at least 5 bad ones. The rap game is teeming with horrible rappers. Such that it is difficult to decide on who actually is the worst of the worst (yes it is a very competitive sport). But the schoolboyreview breaks down for you, in my opinion, the twenty worst rappers to ever lay waste, catastrophe, and abominable destruction to our ears. Not only do they abuse the microphone, they venomously suck the life out of a great genre.

20. Puff Daddy/P Diddy/Diddy

Diddy is great at being Diddy when it doesn’t concern rapping. His ad-libbing is awesome. That “jealousy is a motherf*cker” ad-libbing in “My Downfall” was brilliant ignorance. In fact, I don’t mind if Diddy ad-libs a whole album. But please, Mr. Combs, be a kind soul and spare us from your rapping.

19. Benzino

This man is probably the most hated figure in hip hop. He turned what was once one of the greatest music magazines into a tool for propaganda. He repeatedly dissed Eminem and was under the illusion that he was saving hip hop culture doing so. But the funny thing is that this fool can’t even rap. I guess you can understand why the Source rigged the ratings and gave 4 Mics to Benzino’s music at the expense of other, far more talented, rappers.

18. Pitbull

In the beginning, he was tolerable. Songs like “The Anthem” and “Culo” were catchy and fun to listen to. But rhymes like “I got it locked up like Lindsay Lohan” simply don’t pass, G.

17. Bubba Sparxxx

Another no-talent hack from the junkyard known officially as Collipark Records. He is all hype and nothing more.

16. Shawty Lo

I think “Laffy Taffy” is enough to certify his position.

15. V Nasty

Too early to tell? F*CK NAW. Her raps are depressingly bad and the only thing that’s going change is that they’re gonna get worse.

14. Chingy

Let’s face it, son: his fanbase mostly consists of twelve-year-olds. You can’t take this guy seriously.

13. Lil Mama

Lil Mama is known for virtually nothing except for stage-crashing the VMAs and that godawful song. Now what was that song called? Oh yeah…

12. Fred Durst

“Whoa? The guy from Limp Bizkit?” Yes, that guy. Limp Bizkit wasn’t a great band mostly because they made some dumb songs. Some of those dumb songs  were still dumb but really catchy like “Nookie” and “Rollin'”. But there is no way any sane person should listen to Fred Durst trying to rap for 60 minutes. It doesn’t even seem like he really wants to rap. It’s like he just wants words to come out of his mouth, regardless if it’s saying the most amount of f-words in a song just to appear badass. And not to mention his freakishly annoying voice…

11. Tony Yayo

Poor Tony. No matter how hard he tries, he just doesn’t seem to realize that his place in life is to be 50 Cent’s business partner. God gave him a voice for the sole purpose of aiding G-Unit on concert stages. He was born to be a hypeman. Rapping is just not one of his natural abilities.

10. Mike Jones

The most memorable line I could remember Mike Jones rapping was this: “Mike Jones.”

9. Plies

Being loud is apparently a profitable venture if you aspire to be a rapper. Ludacris was loud. DMX was loud. 2Pac was loud. Plies was loud. But the thing is the first three guys had talent. Plies is just annoying as f*ck. Still, he made some impact early in his career. So the loudness factor still works.

8. MC Hammer

MC Hammer went from regular rapper from Oakland to pop-rap superstar to the greatest joke in hip hop. At least he once had a small set of decent songs. Now he is thinking of ways to become famous again, namely promoting a “deep search” engine and making a laughably bad diss towards Jay-Z. The best part: the video for the diss even has some dances.

7. Vanilla Ice

Eminem once said that he never wanted to rap again after hearing Vanilla Ice. Vanilla Ice is the dude everyone will remember as that pseudo-gangsta white guy who made that piece of sh*t called “Ice Ice Baby” and that even bigger piece of sh*t called Cool As Ice. It was tragic times indeed for white rappers.

6. Jermaine Dupri

Dupri feels like a filler track. You don’t need him but you need something to fill up that space. He doesn’t say sh*t and makes ridiculous claims that he is better than Dr. Dre and Timbaland. And he is responsible for introducing Kris-Kross and Dem Franchise Boyz, two of the worst rap groups of all time. Ugh.

5. Nick Cannon

Nick Cannon is the man who tries to do everything. The man who tried to be funny. The man who tried to be an actor. The man who tried to look tough in front of Eminem. Here’s some advice, Nicky: stop trying to rap. You sound embarrassing.

4. Birdman

Birdman is a troll. The only reason the guy ever has a rap career is to waste musical space and your f*cking time. He knows he can’t rap. Every time he gets his handrub on, he’s thinking, “Alright? How should I annoy these mothaf*ckas today?”. Case in point: at the end of “We’ll Be Fine”, he wastes time trying to hype up Drake as some Toronto gangsta “taking care of business” and blabbering about his riches. And he’s not even rapping on that song.

3. Soulja Boy

Arguably the dude who started the discussion of “worst rapper ever”, Soulja Boy is the embodiment of what general rap fans hate and what youth listeners like. Ice T famously called Soulja Boy the singular reason why hip hop is getting destroyed. It is a harsh and unrealistic accusation, really. You can’t pinpoint the decline of a genre on one person. In fact, Soulja Boy came in with his own style that other rappers would bite off. So he gets credit for being a pioneer. He still sucks at rapping and makes repetitive, corny ass songs. It makes us wonder how the craze of the youth went from Wu Tang to this.

2. Silkk the Shocker

Silkk the Shocker raps like he doesn’t have a clue on how to rap. No flow, no punch, and no interest. He can’t rap to save his life if he were dangling thirty stories above ground.

1. Master P

Ladies and gentlemen. I present to you the pioneer of them all. There have been horrible rappers in the past. But it was never until this particular man came and shook the Earth never to allow sanity to return again. Lives were lost and dozens became slaves to his musical cancer. He would continue his onslaught for years to come, twelve albums to be precise. And it wasn’t just him. He brought an army of malevolent creatures who laid waste and chaos to our world, mercilessly destroying our people. And as if it wasn’t enough, he had the nerve to do the ghastly unthinkable: write a song while taking a sh*t. Ladies and gentlemen, presenting the worst rapper of all time; the father, godfather, and mother of all trash rappers out there today: Master P.

And now for the “Getting Closer” list:

Lil Wayne

I never thought I would say this four years ago but Weezy is edging closer and closer to the actual list. He has been releasing sub-par and inconsistent effort for a while and seems to be believing his own hype too much. He is a great rapper otherwise. Even today, I can still go back and listen to Da Drought 3. But he needs to think of better lines than “I know you fake, n*gga/ Press yo brakes, n*gga/ I’ll take you out/ That’s a date, n*gga”. He also needs to think of better album titles than “Tha Carter” and “I Am Not a Human Being”.

Lil B

I think it’s obvious that Lil B is just doing those trash rap songs for the hell of it, as he does from time to time make actually meaningful music. But the fact that he makes a million songs a year makes him sound tired in every subsequent release. Almost to the point where he is parodying himself which is ironic because he is the one who looks like a parody of other rappers. I like Lil B but dude needs to take a break for a while and focus on making better music.

The Review: LIFE IS GOOD by Nas

PRE-REVIEW:

It’s been a month. Sorry to all who were waiting. I admit I had lost interest in doing these reviews but now that I’ve listened to Nas’ album, I feel inspired enough to do more reviews. I will try my best to be more regular. Probably a post per week. We’ll see. But thank you for your patience.

REVIEW:

On the cover of the album, Nas sits in a reflective stance as he sits on a leather seat with his ex-wife’s wedding dress, apparently the one thing she left behind after their ugly divorce. One would think that Nas has plenty to be angry about. This is the same man who wrote “Ether” and other venomous attacks towards his foes. But in the opening track (so aptly titled “No Introduction”), he realizes that he is not faultless and instead of spewing hatred on Kelis, he sends love claiming, “life is good”.

Life is good? Years ago, life was treated far differently, as many hip hop fans can recall. But the Nas of today is different from the Nas of years ago. He confesses that he has “been rich longer than [he] has been broke”. The rapper once known as Nasty Nas lived the street life, where a way out seemed impossible unless it meant death. But now that he has been rich for so long, the street life seems to only be a memory rather than reality. Nas sees that his problems lie elsewhere. In “Daughters”, he sees the difficulties in being a righteous father-figure when he himself doesn’t have a clean history. He understands that he was not the faithful husband he should have been. But he also doesn’t hesitate to ask why Kelis would give up so quickly when they had such a close relationship (“Bye Baby”).

Yet all this drama seems to serve as motivation as Nas runs through the album with complex flows and pin-point precision, weaving pictures of his younger days and his life now. It’s a mix of braggadocio and reflection, many times within the same verse. For example, “You Wouldn’t Understand”:

Hudson River, rent a boat, t-shirt with a dinner coat
A vintage Fila like I’m the ghost of Domencio
On any day getting throwed in a tinted vehicle
Like a old BK gangsta, but I’m the CEO
Of Nasty Nas Enterprise, mastermind, made men
My success symbolizes loyalty, great friends
Dedication, hard work, routine builds character
In a world full of snakes, rats and scavengers

And not only is Nas lyrically reinvigorated, but his beat selection has vastly improved with Salaam Remi and No ID handling most of the production. From the dramatic piano and choirs of “Accident Murderers” to the sweet soul of “Cherry Wine” with heavy reminisces of the 1990s sound, the production is almost golden, save for the out-of-place “Summer on Smash” produced by Swizz Beatz. The album also features a small guest-list (Rick Ross is the only other rapper who has a verse), allowing Nas to dominate the album from start to finish with his guests acting as proper guests. Ross, in particular delivers a memorable yet irrelevant verse on “Accident Murderers” (he talks more about rags-to-riches than “accident murderers”).

Life is good for Nas despite all the shortcomings. As the man pushes 40, he feels he has much to look forward to, now that he is a much wiser man, having learned from his past. He understands that neither life nor he is perfect and that his past may make look like a punching bag. But he also understands that his past is what makes him relatable. And the fact that he is relatable factors in his legacy as one of the greatest rappers on the mic. So at the end, you’ll end up laughing at him or laughing with him.

Rating: 8.75/10

The Review: THE STONED IMMACULATE by Curren$y

PRE-REVIEW: Hella late so sorry about that.

Curren$y is one of those rappers who, despite the lack of variety in his subject matter, manages to stay consistent album after album. And it isn’t just his great ear for production. He packs a lazy flow and autographical lyrics that keep him interesting. And the relaxing, airy music combined make for a hazed experience that’s almost as alluring as the stuff he smokes. But until now, Curren$y is starting to garner fame and even influence. So-called “weed rappers” like Wiz Khalifa and Smoke DZA owe something to Curren$y. Speaks volumes about a man whose name is only starting to get bigger as of now, though he has released great mixtapes and albums like This Ain’t No Mixtape and Pilot Talk. And to think he was once signed to Master P and then Lil Wayne and that neither of them saw the potential before.

The Stoned Immaculate sounds very much like another Curren$y album. Nothing groundbreaking or at least interestingly new. Curren$y treads the same path, offering little variation from what he has already said before. The sound doesn’t change much apart from a few hints. Curren$y’s top collaborators, Alchemist and Ski Beatz, are notably absent from this effort. The repetition has shown a couple kinks here and there on the album. For example, the words “chasing” and “paper” are too often found together. And some of the wordplay seems contrived (“No square shall enter in the circle of winners”).

But the repetition is the key to Curren$y’s success. When one reflects, any other topic would seem uncharacteristic for Curren$y to rap about. He himself declares, “Money and smoke is all I know”. Thus it only seems right that Curren$y should tread the same path, while still being able to let the listener sit back and vibe, similar to how Cam’ron interests his listeners by delivering witty punchlines rather than deviating from the same content. Even when Curren$y raps the regular braggadocio, he does it with such detail and pop culture affinity:

I’m adding dollars, you admiring/
I’m Words With Friends whole time in-flight wireless/
Email full of condo prices/
Marble or granite, kitchen islands/
Home stylings/

Can’t violate the Jet code without penalty/
Even family get let go “Fredo, you killing me”/
I work hard, bloggers thinking that it’s 10 of me/
Dropping record after record like them bitches slippery/
I like nice shit and I know how to get it/
Hustle dumbass, it’s not rocket science or quantum physics/

Maybe one of the most notable flaws of the album is the guest list. For a Curren$y album, it is difficult to imagine that anyone other than his posse and Wiz Khalifa could fit well on a Curren$y album. Case in point: Wale. The moment Wale starts the album off, the album starts sounding like Ambition Part 2 rather than a Curren$y album. Daz Dillinger’s husky, hardcore “Royce da 5’9″-like” voice sounds jarring on what is otherwise a perfectly Curren$y-type of song (“Fast Cars, Faster Women”). Surprisingly, however, the guests who sing some of the hooks, fit quite well. Pharrell sounds like the best he has been for a long (excuse me: LONG) time. And Estelle, who one would rather put on a pop-rap Kanye West-song, surprisingly adds more depth to “That’s the Thing” without making the song too overtly mainstream.

And maybe that’s the biggest gift for the listeners of this album. No major crossover attempts. No gimmicky sing-song hooks. From start to finish, it is purely a Curren$y album whose only interruptions are some of the guests and a few misconceived lines. The fans get what they want and nothing else. And that results in a satisfactory effort.

Rating: 8.25/10