Thursday, November 08, 2007

Too Regular?

Something in the way of the unpretentious way Pooh and Phonte deliver their feelings is reassuring. It’s as if they actually lived through what was relayed on Get Back? The striking chord is in fact real and it’ll hit close to home with most listeners; they’re rapping for us. Little Brother offers honest, poignant and always funny commentary throughout Get Back which grew on me more as I gave it an opportunity to shine.

The message comes in every song. The strong point to LB’s music is how they convey their experiences; they’re simple, cohesive and concise. At times I frown at how literal Pooh and Tay can be. *pointing finger at Pooh* But soon I fall back on this note: commentary on real life happenings need not be spurned, flipped and tossed with an expensive olive oil. The topics of discussion LB takes on is quite regular. Thus writing about rocking clothes sound ultra fly makes the experience ridiculous. How many of us can pop tags like we were Jay’s henchmen?

The funk opening of “Sirens” was a nice touch that I’d wish had lasted for a while longer. No worries though as LB gets off to a raucous start. I guess with two plus years off, they sense the need to shut mouths up. Pooh starts it of: “They talk about us not using the word ‘Nigga’, I wanna speak about a couple issues much bigger, like most black folk live below the poverty line, and they wonder why the fuck we attracted to crime.” There’s an inherent air of honesty here, as if just the ink was a stress reliever. Tay ices their rebuttal cake: “Like I could stick you up with a mic, like I could rape with a verse or use a verb as a knife.”

Illmind gave “Can’t Win For Losing” a pure Hip Hop groove. I found myself rocking the whole time as LB opened the flood gates on label situations and life after realizing you’re a rapper that gets no major press. “Fickle as Trav’ Bickle, they either hatin you or they a Stan.”

“Breaking My Heart” surprisingly is the worst—but the worst is still listenable—that Get Back has to offer. 9th Wonder’s solo beat is with good filler. Immediately I hated Weezy*’s verse—still speaking as if he was twelve and just finished his “Simile” lesson in English class. Get to thinking, he might be just twelve…? I was really stuck on this line: “I play fair like rollercoasters and clowns… and you don’t wanna leave me, believe me cuz I can turn you on like a personal tv.” I loved it until I saw the liner notes. Weezy* said “person on tv” and for some reason that doesn’t really make sense. Stressing, er, analyzing a Weezy* verse on LB’s album should be moot, I digress.

Hearing “Good Clothes” months earlier, I threw LB into the skeptical pile. The advertised single lacked oomph. Although, having the “Good Clothes” up-beat sound accompanied by would be embarrassed lyrics made for a jam once the CD hit track four. On my first listen to Get Back, amongst unfamiliarity, “Good Clothes” was a nice juncture to break from the serious tone. I mean, I got do them “call me ugly I wish a bitch would clothes”.

The way LB weaves introspective thoughts with truths on “After Party” is refreshing. What other way would we expect them to talk about the club? Pooh arranging a mengae-a-trois? Tay raking in a woman with his severe coolness, hence the red 93 Civic? They manage to tell us what we all feel about nightlife culture without offending us. I see me sitting in the dark at 3 am, inebriated, feeling lost and without the girl. “They just wanna re-enact the same scene every night, Everybody’s selling fantasies no matter what the price, Like I’ll love you forever but forever ends tonight.”

“Extrahard” goes extra hard. Both Pooh and Tay offer heat, c’mon I am allowed one use of the adjective “heat” in this review. This is one of the repeatable songs on Get Back. Rewind, replay and sing. “I took a few lumps, I don’t easily scar." The fun is apparent in the lyrics too; it’s important for them to vent rap rather than be conscious of what they’re saying thus “Flow so dumb, borderline genius.”

The following three songs’ energy seems to slow down or it’s redirected. LB turned the dial down for slower, personal moments. “Step It Up” is a grown man’s song. Tay’s honesty about himself (I’m sure he even takes women to Applebees too) is rarely found. “Two Step Blues” provides bang and is aptly named. And Jozeemo outshines LB on “That Ain’t Love”.

The hook on “Dreams” makes the piece. “It took me all over the continent, but still got boys on the blocks and fam smoking rocks so please miss me with that conscious shit.” LB’s able to stay grounded with their resonating openness.

“When Everything Is New” is a little drawn out as an ending. At least they both had strong endings as Tay sums it up, “Had to get back to me, get back to mines, get back to fam, get back to rhymes.”

LB’s Get Back does not provide jams; they’re rhymes are often not repeatable. I don’t find myself rapping alongside them as if I were at a concert (even though I’m in the car). The turn off is obvious, in that their music gets you less hyped. Yet what they offer in return is a message. And they’re not the slightest bit preachy about this. Instead of screwing up the half the song up anyways, you sit, listen and give them your attention. They thoroughly provide and manage to hold your attention without hook based music.

The best thing to like about LB is their honesty. Listening just once you admire how comfortable (or not—LB just puts up with it?) they are with telling their real feelings. Rappers usually are afraid of saying anything personal so they talk about innate objects in order to not address stress, problems, etc. Couple honesty with jokes and a penchant for not over doing things, LB is proud of their regularity as it is a viable, and constructive, asset. If you’ve ever checked Tay’s blog, you know what I’m talking about. What artist you know wanted to throw a ZShare link of his album just so people could get it?

Being that I just heard LB earlier this year for the first time, I’m not a big fan. Well, it took one album for me to rep, believe and respect their work. I was disappointed with Get Back on the first listen but with progressive listens it turned into a solid release. Pooh stepped up his rhyme game this time out and Tay continued to dazzle with his succinct wit. The shortness of Get Back was fine in terms of number of songs yet Pooh and Tay only spit once per song. A few tracks could have used more words, especially “Dreams”. The interlude/skits are not a problem yet they could have vanished without complaint. Going indie, LB took a chance but they need to be admired for the dignity; they didn’t sell out. Selling under 15k copies of Get Back in its first two weeks, LB’s style/point seems not to be felt. Maybe it’s a shame or maybe it’s just grown up music? So there’s 15k grown up rap fans, hmmm, interesting? One absent and big question this album was the break of LB and their producer/group member, 9th Wonder. Their sound was quite different as fans started wondering how bad LB could get without a major label and 9th. They took that chance: 'It’s different… it just ain’t the same?’ “That’s the point!”


At 5:51 PM, Blogger JK said...

Word, 15k was hella surprising. It is such a good album too. But yo Major, my myspace page is so get at me or something, I got an idea

At 11:22 PM, Anonymous hdot said...

I can't debate you about Lil' Wayne or should I say Weezy* as you like to say, still not sure why you put a (*) there though, guess I missed something. Anyways, "Breaking My Heart" was not that good IMO, my least fave track on there. I had "ExtraHard", "Dreams", and "That Ain't Love" on replay most of the time.

The album is definitely different, but it was alright. Not their best IMO. Though Pooh did step his game up.

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I respected your blog/opinions until I read the reason why you put a star after weezys name in the comments a few posts back and now i think ill give up on coming to this blog all together.

Trust me hdot, its so childish you don't wanna know!

At 11:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good Album, Good Review. It's in the truck right now. I will say they have had one of the better albums of this year.

Now Cassidy, his album was horrible...B.A.R.S (BORING ASS RHYME SCHEME) YE-UHHHH!!!!

At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Giving up?! Are you crazy?! This probably is one of the better blogs out here...I could name a few garbage blogs but I am not.

Also I bet whoever said they was done is still gonna jack music from here stop acting like you done...besides who gets that sensitive about a blog and wants to must be a internet gang bangin ass nigga....

At 3:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Giving up?! Are you crazy?! This probably is one of the better blogs out here...I could name a few garbage blogs but I am not.

Also I bet whoever said they was done is still gonna jack music from here stop acting like you done...besides who gets that sensitive about a blog and wants to must be a internet gang bangin ass nigga....

At 4:42 PM, Blogger The Major said...

Ha... they sure will jack the music.

@hdot: Weezy* was going to steal the show from LB on "Breaking", good or bad. I haven't heard "The Listening" but I was more taken by this than the "Minstrel Show". Although "MS" was still good.

@anonymous #1: Leaving b/c of the *? Okay, right. Be gone!

@anonymous #2: Ye-uuh, Cassidy got yellowish rocks and he about to pull up in the truck and pull out the pump, squeeze and pop. Larceny Boyz...

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