Ya Boy - Optimus Rime

Posted January 24, 2008
Tags: Ya Boy,

One mistake. Sometimes that’s all it takes. For better or worse one moment, one decision,...

Optimus Rime Album Review

One mistake. Sometimes that’s all it takes. For better or worse one moment, one decision, one slip-up, can be enough to destroy entire empires. For example, Hitler decided invading Russia in the winter would be a good idea. Except it turns out Russia gets pretty cold in the winter, and a few hundred thousand frozen troops later he was done for. Or to flip things entirely, let’s take the lovely Janet Jackson (Ms. Jackson is you’re nasty). Janet was arguably the biggest female pop star of her generation, until one of her twins decided to make a surprise appearance during the Superbowl. Now, despite decades of work and millions of albums sold, she’ll always be known as “that woman who got her shirt ripped off by Justin Timberlake.” And for the record, I can guarantee I’m the first reviewer to ever compare Hitler’s invasion of Russia with Janet’s right nipple. Holla at ya boy.

Speaking of which…hip-hop’s had its own share of singularly tragic mistakes, and Bay Area native Ya Boy has given us one for the history books with the release of his new mixtape Optimus Rime. Ya Boy’s been hustling hard on the national circuit for a few years now, even falling under the mentorship of The Game’s Black Wall Street crew for a minute, and his brick-heavy rhyme style spans the range of West Coast influence. Though he is apparently able to transform into Optimus Rime, a more accurate name would be Optimus Guy Who Kind Of Sounds Like That Other Guy, which I’ll admit isn’t nearly as catchy. Frankly I would have all but forgotten about this mixtape in a week; if it weren’t for one track. Just…one…track.

But before we get into Optimus Rime’s fatal flaw let’s take a moment to figure out how we got here. Ya Boy stepped onto stage with the predictably-titled Holla At Ya Boy, a decent cut with enough promise to give his next mixtape official “anticipated” status. Eager to build off the momentum Ya Boy gets right to work on the opening track of Optimus Rime with Pop That, a crushing cut featuring an Oddz N Endz beat with enough bass to rattle your ribcage. Ya Boy throws on his grimiest voice as he runs through the by-now typical “you f***in with me, you need more straps” verse. It’s not that Ya Boy can’t rhyme, I’m just starting to feel like I’ve heard this song before, and I have, repeatedly. In fact a solid portion of Optimus Rime follows the same street banger formula, hot beats and hard rhymes, from the take no prisoners Hit The Deck to the lowrider styled My Money. And before I start getting letters calling me a West Coast hater, and I will, let me point out that the first three digits on my phone number are 4-1-5.

I was going to spend an entire section discussing Ya Boys’s ability to pump out more radio ready tracks, but I can’t hold back any longer. Screw it, here it goes – Optimus Rime prominently features K-Fed. Yeah, K-Fed. The back-up dancer turned Britney’s baby daddy turned rapper, K-Fed. The track’s called You Should, and the first time I heard it my head nearly exploded. First off, Ya Boy introduces him as “my nigger, yeah my nigger, Kevin Federline.” (I know that last sentence is going to get edited, so let's just say the word rhymes with "bigger.") I barely had time to wrap my head around the implications of K-Fed being a “nigger” when I was hit with this lyrical gem: “I think soft, move fast, and bite hard/K-Fed I leave you wetter than a lifeguard.”

How bad is K-Fed? Let me put it this way: I was originally planning on comparing him to Vanilla Ice, until my boy pointed out that Vanilla would absolutely kill K-Fed in a battle, and at least Ice sold some records. Damn, that’s so true it hurts. Believe me, I didn’t want to devote this much time to K-Fed, but what does it say about someone who willingly included him on their album? Ya Boy might as well have taken a dump on my living room floor: I can’t ignore it, I will never forget it, and he will never be invited back into my house. There are actually some pretty decent tracks on Optimus Rime, I’m definitely feeling Reunion, but you know what? F*** it. Ya Boy rides with K-Fed, there’s literally no way I can take anything he says seriously. Is that fair? Is it right? Probably not. But sometimes that’s all it takes. Just one mistake. One, horrible, horrible, mistake.

DJBooth Rating - 2.5 Spins

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Posted January 24, 2008
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