Fabolous - From Nothin’ to Somethin’

Posted June 18, 2007
Tags: Fabolous,

The last three years have been rough. Things were going great at your job, but your last...

From Nothin' to Somethin' Album Review

The last three years have been rough. Things were going great at your job, but your last project was disappointing. Suspecting your boss has been sabotaging your work, you start trying to switch companies. Then, out on the town one night with your boys, you get shot in the leg and then arrested when your friends blow through red lights trying to get you to the hospital. If this doesn’t sound like your life, and I hope it doesn’t, than you’re not Fabolous.

Things are looking up for Loso. He left Atlantic to sign with Def Jam, got the gun charges dismissed, and is ready to begin a brand new assault on the charts with his album From Nothin’ to Somethin’. Although a little older and wiser, Fab hasn’t changed much; he spits clever rhymes, divides his tracks between songs for the ladies and hustler talk, and does it all in a voice that often sounds like he’s bored. He doesn’t have to be Busta Rhymes, but when he delivers every flow with the same pace and emphasis it’s easy to stop paying attention, a shame because he does have some dope lines.

Fabolous built his rep on street talk swagger, and he returns to his flossed out roots with the lead single Diamonds featuring Young Jeezy. The beat’s a hypnotically addictive head-nodder and Loso swaggers through two verses of iced rhymes with no shortage of punchlines. I could point out that “I like you, but I really like your damn chain,” is actually a subtle diss to men who wouldn’t have the women without the money, but let’s not get too deep. It’s a tight track, bang it. The second single Return of the Hustle is the best on the album. The boiling hot beat, produced by Just Blaze, mixes a string orchestra with a full out marching band. The production gives Fabolous the raw energy he needs while he compares his shooting to the 2Pac and Biggie murders and, of course, talks about his money. What more could you want?

Fab’s real successes have been more pop-oriented jams for the ladies, Into You with Tamia’s been his biggest hit to date, and he knows it. From Nothin to Somethin has its share of romantically-tinged tracks, beginning with the single Make Me Better. In the presence of artists like Timbaland and Ne-Yo, Fab’s forced to prove he’s got some grown man game, and for the most part he delivers. Unfortunately his collaboration with Rihanna, First Time, slides back into shallower R&B territory. It’s a pretty soft affair, but it should also keep the legions of teenage girls with his poster on their bedroom wall happy.

Some folks have called Fabolous the next Jay-Z, and he won’t hesitate to compare himself to hip-hop royalty, but the track Brooklyn proves he still has a way to go. The track opens with the famous Biggie sample (“where Brooklyn at!”), then Loso, Hova, and newcomer Uncle Murda trade verses. In direct contrast it’s just not that close; Fab’s clever, Jay’s a genuis. Fab’s more like Jay-Z’s poorer, less talented cousin, and considering who Jay is… that’s a compliment. I’m more like Jay’s gardener.

Fabolous still has more depth than most jewels-in-the-wristwatch rappers, and he proves it on What Should I Do, featuring his old friend Lil Mo. The track’s a response to the fan mail he gets asking him for help, and he crafts the stories of an incarcerated mother, a soldier in Afghanistan, and a kid going through a divorce with strong, mature verses. Forget the last album, this is real talk. Fab’s a good MC, but if he wants to be great he’s gonna have to put the pop hits aside and do more tracks like What Should I Do. If he wants to find out how to become a legend he can just walk down the halls of Def Jam. Fab’s gone From Nothin to Somethin, now’s it’s time for him to be more than just something. Holla back young’n.

DJBooth Rating - 3 Spins

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Posted June 18, 2007
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