Trying out mini-reviews again. Hopefully this becomes a trend and allows me to post more often. Enjoy!
50 Cent – Animal Ambition
Because I haven’t listened to a whole 50 Cent album since Get Rich or Die Trying, I can’t insightfully speak on his career’s decline. But to my inexperienced ear, Animal Ambition sounds very similar to what he’s been doing for the past several years. His voice is gruff and the topics are sometimes violent, so far, so decent. But the lyrics are uninspired and the overall songs are much too subdued. The hooks are his usual boring style of half-singing, but the worst aspect of this album is that too many of the beats are short loops with little to no variation. Irregular Heartbeat, which seems like a great song on paper, ends up especially bad because it wastes a Jadakiss feature on a much-too-simple instrumental.
Overall, Animal Ambition sounds much more like a bunch of random throwaway tracks than a carefully crafted album. And 50 doesn’t seem excited to be here, at all. I’m pleased that his first indie album isn’t terrible, but that it feels rushed and uninspired is almost as bad. He’d better put more work into his next release, and buy much better beats!
Highlights: Twisted and Pilot are good but even they aren’t spectacular.
Tanya Morgan – Rubber Souls
After the crucible that was No Malice’s Hear Ye Him, I decided that I needed a palette cleanser. Enter Tanya Morgan, two emcees who wouldn’t be caught dead preaching or telling cocaine tales. They instead do a much more relaxed style of hip-hop that sits somewhere between neo-soul and New York boom-bap, and still manages to sound good, unlike that Jamla album. So in a nutshell: good emcees on relaxed beats with good drums. Rubber Souls doesn’t stray from this formula, except in a few songs that are so energetic they feel random.
A decently executed album with such a strong mood will always agree with me… At least…sometimes… In other words, there’s a time for Rubber Souls, and there’s a time for turning up. And the two are very much mutually exclusive. That said, Rubber Souls has several moments of turn down perfection, even though the rappers are usually content to ride the cloud-like beats rather than try hard to impress. This usually works well but I still want a few more simple, no-topic songs where they just attack the instrumental. And the neo-soul gets too thick sometimes, see The Only One. Still, a solid album that I’m enjoying.
Highlights: The Day I, All Em, and The Vehicle