Huey - Notebook Paper

Posted June 21, 2007
Tags: Huey,

I’ve got a theory; give your son a nerdy first name and his chances of becoming a successful...

Notebook Paper Album Review

I’ve got a theory; give your son a nerdy first name and his chances of becoming a successful street rapper increase exponentially. Calvin, Curtis and Clifford sounds like a chess club meeting, but no one wants to mess with Snoop, 50, and T.I.. On that note I’d like to introduce the newest member of the club, Lawrence Franks, also known as Huey. If you haven’t heard his breakthrough single Pop, Lock & Drop It, you’re the only one. Countless MCs dropped that hot single, blew up for a minute, and then slowly faded into oblivion. MIMS isn’t the only one who’s not hot anymore. Will the same fate befall St. Louis’ newest star? Huey’s debut album Notebook Paper walks the fine line between one-hit-wonder and promising future.

Notebook Paper is obviously a carefully packaged album. The first eight tracks are all club bangers, followed by a couple for-the-ladies jams, and then finishing with some inspirational cuts about ghetto life. He’s got everybody covered, no matter where you are on the radio dial. Huey’s evidence of hip-hop’s commercially driven climate, but don’t hate the player, hate the game. Let’s say you’re a young MC growing up in St. Louis’ ghettos. Prospects seem bleak, but you’re also watching Nelly blow up. It wouldn’t take long to figure out that if you can put together even one hit (hey there J-Kwon) you’ve got a shot at making some serious money. If you have to trade in some artistic value along the way, well that’s a relatively small price to pay. If you think you’d do any different you’re lying to yourself.

The current formula for a hit is a blazing hot beat, a catchy chorus, and simple lyrics anyone can rap along to. Pop, Lock & Drop It definitely fits the profile, the beat’s guaranteed to have smoke coming out your speakers. It’s a club hit, nothing more, nothing less. The only problem I have is the amount of five-year-old girls pop, lock & dropping it on Huey’s website. Am I the only one who thinks that children ‘getting low’ is more disturbing than cute? Notebook Paper’s got at least a couple more tracks that have a shot at dominating the airwaves. 2 Nite’s got a bass line that will crumble bricks, the chorus is addictive, and Huey does enough on the mic to keep things movin’. The second single off the album is the more laid back When I Hustle featuring the inescapably tender Lloyd. The track’s produced by Jazze Pha and his quiet percussion and shining melodies are a welcome break from the cranked volume of the rest of the album. What makes a song a smash? Honestly, it’s a lot of luck and only time will tell if Huey strikes again, but he’s certainly done everything he can to stay in radio rotation.

Huey’s more than just a young entrepreneur, he’s got a socially conscious side too. Nobody Loves The Hood has Huey paying tribute to everyone struggling back home and offering a little hope to the children. The quiet piano-driven beat offers the best chance yet to examine his lyricism…let’s just say his rhyme notebook isn’t exactly filled with Illmatic verses. The surprisingly thoughtful Glad 2 B Alive offers the most hope for a long career for Huey, he’s got something memorable to say and T-Pain drops the vocoder for a soulful chorus. Let’s remember Huey’s only 19 years old and his lyrics reflect it. At that age I was more concerned with getting gas money for my ’90 Pontiac sedan than making albums. Today’s hip-hop market uses artists and then tosses them aside, either Huey will mature as an artist or fade away after (hopefully) making some money. He’s obviously smart, let’s see if he can figure out how to stay in the game.

DJBooth Rating - 2 Spins

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Posted June 21, 2007
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