Category Archives: 2006

Perfume – Perfume: Complete Best

Perfume: Complete Best
Perfume
August 2, 2006
Tokuma Japan

(Okay, so my homeboy Van Wonder decided to put in some work and review Perfume: Complete Best for straightfromthecrates.com. As I know nothing of Japanese pop music or Japanese culture in general I’ll shut up during the remainder of the review. Please leave some comments for him below.)

NIHON, SUKI DESU!

Konichiwa, Van Wonder desu. Hajimemashta. ❤

Seriously, that’s how far my knowledge of Japanese goes. Which is sad actually, considering the ridiculous amounts of me singing faux-english, half Japanese lyrics that I make my neighbours endure.

There’s something weird about Japan, everyone knows it. Heck: Alphaville knew it way back in 1984. Being a Japanophile myself, I don’t necessarily have the same opinion, I agree it is pretty weird that you can buy used panties in a vending machine, that the parliament proposed a law against sexual depictions of not-so-very-legal characters in anime and it didn’t pass. On the other hand, its population is one of the most prude people in the world. The Japanese are masters of outright sexual display, without it being overly sexual. They call it ‘moe’, which means cute. Cute girls in all its variations, be it little girls in maid outfits, 48 girlsdancingperfectlysynchronizedtohorriblepopmusic. To me exemplary, and also one of the ways I got into this mess, is the pop formation Perfume. I skipped out on using the word band, because that comes dangerously close to giving them artistic merit. Harsh? Nah, I bet they can take it. They’re adults now.

When I first heard them they weren’t: they started their careers of when they were twelve years old (Angola is among the few places where it isn’t considered statutory rape, also did you know that there’s no age limit on Antarctica?). Right, so… Lolicon issues aside (Google it yourself, I’m not going to explain everything). The reason why I struggle to give them any credit for the music, is because of their producer. There’s no Western producer that comes close to the way Yasutaka Nakata murdered their voices. He’s famous for stripping away irrelevant things like personality and ‘human feel’ to make the singers he uses do exactly what he wants. They started out as a cutesy shibuya-kei trio. Shibu… ? What? Sigh, Shibuya is one of the biggest fashion areas in Tokyo and ‘kei’ means ‘style’: so that would make it ‘the style of Shibuya’. Music that focuses mainly on electro pop, incorporating new wave sounds and it also has plenty bossa nova and jazz influences. It’s one of the biggest things to come out of Japan really, with its influence sphere reaching all the way to France and if you’re trying really hard I guess England too, why the hell not?

Oh right, so Yasutaka Nakata signed them to his label when their mediocre attempt at making it  with some indie label in Tokyo didn’t work out. Fresh out of acting school they were naïve, maybe, young: yes. So they signed and sold their soul like anyone would. Yasutaka then moved them to the Akibahara-district, the electronic shopping district in Tokyo (this is where you can find that vending machine, you guys). It was while they were giving live performances on the streets of Akiba (shortening names is the shit in Japan) when they found their target audience. Horny men who were all too excited to see three adorable girls lip-synching to chiptune sounds (= using vintage computer game sounds in music).

The launch of the first album Perfume: complete best, a compilation album consisting of their singles produced at the indie label pimped by Yasutaka and some of his own compositions, was possible largely due to their successful appearances at the venues in Akiba and a minor commercial success in the charts. Because of Yasutaka’s rule over the songs it features a lot of vocoder and other computer synthesized voice editing and sounds, although sometimes you can hear small whimpers of natural sounding voice coming trough. I bet that when you play the album backwards you can hear them pleading to gain their human rights back.

Luckily for us, if you play the album like it’s supposed to it’s all fun and games, sugar-coated happy fun time land.

1. Perfect Star Perfect Style

The first track is the only new track, specifically composed for this album, and this is undoubtedly Yasutaka’s furthest move from his Shibuya roots on this album; incorporating a steady house beat throughout the song. While heavy on the autotune, this song suprisingly actually features some clear vocals from the girls during the slower, ballad like parts. Hold on, let me use my incredible intel to find the lyrics. … “The truth is, I’m unwavering, and I just can’t pull away, I still gently carry in my arms that file that remains important to me”. Assuming the translation is accurate, this would suggest that it’s a song about a psychopath at a desk job (they call those salarymen in Japan). “Even my outstretched hands can no longer reach you“. Ah, thank god, it is a love song after all. The glimpses you get of the ‘real’ voices blend together nicely with the auto-tuned tracks, a catchy, emotional song to set the mood.

2. Linear Motor Girl

And as soon as the mood that’s been set by the previous song has sunk in, this thing starts playing. Utterly tearing it apart. Easily the most juvenile song on the album and I’m not even talking about the lyrics. They’re exactly what you would expect: it’s a song sung in awful Engrish about a motor girl, who’s very fond of traveling in a linear way. The instrument Yasutaka chose for the melody reminds me of, I don’t even know: the song reeks of kindergarten and little kids choking on crayons. Not surprisingly though, as this was the first Perfume single Yasutaka produced outside of the indie label, so he was probably playing it safe.

Ugh, I wish he didn’t.

3. Computer City

Now we’re getting to the good stuff, the sixth single under Yasutaka’s guidance and we can already get a glimpse of what we’re in for. This song features heavy voice distortion right from the bat, but to keep things light there’s that same house beat as we saw in Perfect Star. … Kind of disappointing that upon further inspection it does sound precisely as the beat in the first song but oh well? How many different generic house-beats can a man create? Interesting about this song is that the lyrics focus on technology a lot, “This town was made with perfect calculation, I want to escape it, I want to break down”. Emphasizing the hard life that comes with ever changing realities, caused by fast advancement in computer engineering and new media is something we haven’t really seen around since Kraftwerk. Interesting Perfume, interesting.

Oh no wait, it’s a love song. “I wonder if the truth exists, in a paradise made of perfect calculation, the only thing that is true is my love”. 10 points for reminding me of Kraftwerk though.

4. Electoro World

We westerners would pronounce it ‘electro’, but everyone knows Japanpeoples are incapable of normal English. This song progresses on the technology-theme introduced by the last song, which is to be expected since they came out shortly after each other. Focusing yet again on the fearful aspects of too much tech in modern culture, but this time without transgressing into a sappy love song. Goodu Jobbu, Yasutaka! I simply love the voice track on this song, over-produced synth-heavy stretches of sound that really make this one of the stand-outs on the album. Also: electric guitar what?

5. Inryoku (Gravity)

Released as a b-side to Vitamin Drop, an early Indie label release, it has the same base instrumentarium as Linear Motor Girl and that same kindergarten-feel to it. Except in the case of Inryoku it doesn’t make me want to punch a preschooler in the face, it actually makes me uncomfortable happy, now why? I think it is because this song has so much more to say for itself, instead of just focusing on the obvious: omigawd, check out this innocent young girls and their cute little dances; the song incorporates a lot of chiptune and makes some sexy allusions to Shibuya-kei pioneer Fantastic Plastic Machine. His style is clearly recognizable through the chopped up lyrics at the beginning, the quirky interlude notes Yasutaka made the girls sing and the bossa nova synth in the background. Together, the chiptune and the FPM homage coat the song with a nostalgic feel, bringing me back to my gameboy days. Pretty okay.

6. Monochrome Effect

THIS SONG IS PURE HAPPY. Now, it might be because I’m just, well… me, but this song just blows my mind. So HNNNGGH happy and cute. Only the second song they made together with Yasutaka and the first one to get a semi-professional clip. Now, this is before they achieved their Akiba-fame, so the clip… is pretty interesting to say the least. Whereas later on in Electoro World the girls wake up in some kind of dystopic tech-lab, in the video for Monochrome Effect they take a ride in a giant Shark-submarine, wear jawdroppingly cute (read: moe, not sexy. Per se…) outfits and don’t display the high paced synched dancing they’re famous for just yet. It is adorable. When sad: eat sugar + watchthis.

7. Vitamin Drop

It seems as if the complete middle of the album is infected with the cutes. Vitamin Drop is also early Perfume stuff, but a lot more generic than the last song, it’s a shame that you have to sit this thing out for five minutes. Except for the translated lyrics, this song is pretty boring, but I wouldn’t want you to miss out on those for the world: ‘Closing the deep wound, Ah, Verbal abuse, Will it disappear some day?’.

8. Sweet Doughnuts

‘If I warm the inside of my heart with a microwave oven can I eat it too?’ It seems the cuter the songs get, the more morbid the lyrics are. I can’t say I really adore this song, although it does fit together nicely with the rest of the songs in the middle. Right now, I am trying to quit my Ibuprofen addiction and this song does not bode well with withdrawal headaches, but otherwise: this is a song you play when you need to get somewhere fast, forcing you to grin like a maniac upon arrival.

9. Foundation

Finally, this song offers us a chance to cool off and let my headache sorta subside. I already know what’s coming next, so I can tell you this is just an interlude to the final sugarcoated smack in the face Perfume will be handing out on this album. A nice, easy paced song, to relax the body, until: wham! Disco beats? Okay… I guess , time to get up again. Ugh.

10. Computer Driving

There’s a very sharp note playing throughout the song, that’ll hit you on the head and make you cringe every few seconds. Other than that, this b-side to Linear Motor Girl smells like crayon for sure, but there’s actually a pretty nice bass involved at some point. That, together with the addition of some new, slightly different chiptune bleep’s and bloop’s and some twists in composition make this four and half minute song highly enjoyable.

11. Perfume

Ahh. This brings me back. The first song I heard from the group, ‘Perfume’ is a ridiculously high-paced anthem-like song, it has everything a good Perfume needs to have: cute deranged singing, faster than light house beats and synths and apparently a surprise xylophone. Pretty sweet. Pretty sweet indeed.

12. Wonder2

As the final song on the album this is a foreshadowing of what Perfume is capable of in the hands of Yasutaka. One of the more grown-up songs on the album (it was a b-side to Electoro World). Clearly showcasing the evolution Perfume has undergone in the first three years, the sounds and the girls voices are somewhat childish still, but also gained a less compassionate more industrialized feel to them. Likewise the beat has lost its disco, lost its Shibuya-kei influences and has transformed into a droning electropop beat. A calm, drifting ending to our sugarhigh. Perfect.

Best tracks:

Electoro World, Monochrome effect, Computer City and Perfume.

Conclusion:

 

The album is a nice summary of the three first years of Perfume, although I strongly believe that the album could’ve done without a few of the early indie label productions. They seem shallow and just plain silly next to the later works of composer Yasutaka. That said, with the amazing progression on this album alone it’s not hard to believe that they would become one of Japan’s most influential electropop bands, paving the way for more computerized vocal experimentation such as the vocaloid software and clearly showing that it is still possible for a niche like Shibuya-kei music to gain mainstream success. But that’s looking to much ahead in the future, in 2006 their fans were still just the people passing by one of Perfume’s early street concerts on their way to buy the latest porn game.

Recommendations:

 

As I said, there’s a few way too sugary child abuse inducing songs on this album, if that is your thing: righto, good for you. They’re great songs to clean to aswell. What I can recommend to anyone who fancies electro music is the rest of the album, they make such a nice shift from our, compared to, boring repititions of the same beats and samples. Truly refreshing,


Amy Winehouse – Back to Black

Amy Winehouse

Back to Black

10-04-2006

Island Records/ Universal Music Group

Okay, so it has been announced that Amy Winehouse’s first posthumous album Lioness: Hidden Treasures will be released in early December (let the 2pacing begin!). Since Back in Black is the only project standing in between her debut album Frank, which was the first album up for review on www.straightfromthecrates.com I might as well get this out of the way so I can review that half-assed attempt at juicing her mourning fanbase project when it comes out.

So 2003’s Frank was a hit in the Commonwealth world when it came out but left most of the rest of the world not giving much of a fuck. When Winehouse resurfaced, trimmed of her body-fat, tattooed full and with a huge beehive haircut in ’06 that would all change though as her second album was universally acclaimed by rabid critics proclaiming it an instant classic and comparing Amy to such people as Billie Holiday (which is batshit insane I don’t care how much you love Amy. Thou shan’t, won’t compare people to Billie motherfucking Holiday, that is sacrilege) and sold millions of copies worldwide, giving Winehouse the kind of success that would almost certainly made her follow-up a disappointment of huge proportions. That follow-up hasn’t yet surfaced, nor will it ever surface as everyone will agree on that whatever Lioness will turn out to be content-wise, it will not be a legitimate Winehouse album without her creative input, which, off course, she cannot provide from the grave.

Back to Black, though, was a legitimate Winehouse album and it was praised for its deftly produced soul-instrumentals created by Mark Ronson, Frank-veteran and NaS- producer Salaam Remi, as well as Sharon Jones’ backing band the Dap kings, and Winehouse’s soulful performances, unusually blunt lyrics, general funky offness and what not.

Should you give a fuck, though?

1. Rehab

A worldwide smash and a breakthrough single. And credit where credit is due, a pretty catchy tune whose refrain will, if this shit was based on reality, give Winehouse’s father a terrible feeling of guilt whenever this pops up on the radio. As a pop song though this is pretty damn captivating, not unlike the slowmotion instant replay of the 9/11 attacks were, right after the fact. But Rehab isn’t supposed to be experienced a horrible news-fact, it’s a grimy soul song about which no-one could say anything objectively because of obvious circumstantial reasons. I’ll try though. The instrumental, courtesy of Mark Ronson, the lyrics, the singing and the hook are pretty effective so in a different light perhaps this would be more enjoyable. It is said how the jazz of Amy’s debut Frank is tossed out of the window for a more classical soul sound. Rehab confirms this. Can’t say I completely agree with this decision.

2. You Know I’m No Good

Ronson’s instrumental is soulful and pretty upbeat. This is, off course, quite intentionally done to contrast with Amy’s singing about fucking up relations and what not. Let’s hope Winehouse and co. came up with more ideas during the recording of this album because if every song is “ironic” like that, well then this album will get boring even within its ten track span.

3. Me & Mr Jones

I wonder if this one is about NaS, given that she was a known fan of his and has Salaam Remi, the man responsible for giving Nasir his career back, behind the boards. If so then it’s a diss since “nowadays [he] don’t mean dick to [Amy]” and she’s mad at him for making her miss a Slick Rick gig. Anyway, I love the word fuckery as well as Amy’s apparent good taste in hiphop so that was nice. Also, it helped that she was sensible enough to simply cover Me and Misses Jones, Michael Bublé style, that’d be godawfully boring. Not that this is fantastic or anything…

4. Just Friends

Meh.

5. Back to Black

A pretty effective break-up song backed by a typically competent but little exciting imitation of ‘60s soul by Mark Ronson. I particularly enjoyed the first stanza, there’s literally no-one but Amy could’ve penned that stuff.

6. Love Is a Losing Game

Well, this sounds like the umpteenth cover version of some classic from the great American songbook but it isn’t, it’s an original Winehouse/ Ronson creation. You could take that as both a compliment and as a criticism.

7. Tears Dry on Their Own

I don’t know whether to get pissed over the blatant jacking of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s Ain’t No Mountain High Enough or to admire how this does in fact sound different from that song. I think I’ll do the former because this is the third breakup-song in a row, which is all sorts of redundant.

8. Wake Up Alone

The “at least I’m not drinking” lyric should ring a bell and strike a chord with every borderline alcoholic. Oh, you’re not a borderline alcoholic, you say? You just like a drink every once in a while? Relax, yo, it’s legal and I’ve got problems of my own. Anyway, this one seems to be about some of said problems so yeah, I was really feeling this one. Musically this one was only so-so but lyrically this was a lot more interesting to me than the three songs that came before this one.

9. Some Unholy War

I don’t like social commentary songs by pop artists. Although Amy doesn’t classify as a pop artist in the derogatory sense. And on closer inspection this isn’t a social commentary song. Not terrible, not awe-inspiring either.

10. He Can Only Hold Her

The first song from a second person perspective and some pleasant background-music but nothing more than that.

11. Addicted

Yeah it’s annoying when you’re in that stoner-phase of your life, and someone drops by and smokes all your weed. But seriously, is that enough of a premise for an interesting song? Amy apparently thought that not only it was but that said song would be a fantastic album closer too. I respectfully disagree as I found it hard to keep my attention on this. Not unlike someone who’s stoned out of his mind, I suppose.

Best tracks

Rehab, You Know I’m No Good, Back to Black, He Can Only Hold Her

Conclusions

So, yeah. The tossing the jazz-hop out of the window thing. Very much true. In its place are, mostly, Ronson’s classic soul meets hiphop production techniques. The problem with this is that these backing instrumentals aren’t very special. Everything is done professionally and without any major fuck-ups making it to the final cut but everything, except for the four tracks mentioned above sounds like a variation of the same song. It just makes me wonder what might’ve happened if Amy would’ve gotten down with the likes of the RZA, DJ Premier or Kanye West, rather than or in addition to Ronson and Salaam Remi, especially Primo, considering how much he did for Christina Aguilera. That would probably have done the album a lot of good since their horny soulful production styles would’ve fit onto the album seamlessly, but it still would’ve shaken everything just enough to make shit more interesting. An alternative to dragging more people into the booth would be recording some more Frank-ish tracks. Besides the production being decent, not great and a bit repetitive, Amy also repeats herself a lot. I get it, Amy, You’re depressed about your own alcoholism, drug taking and choice of partners. Do I look like a psychologist to you? It’s not like I don’t care but… are you meaning to say you’ven’t done anything fun lately? Still, these subjects, penned down by Amy’s unique songwriting hand make for a couple of interesting songs… just not eleven of them.  The above tracks do stand out in a good way, or maybe I just got bored after the first two songs until Amy said something about a dick on the title track. No, Back to Black isn’t a terrible album but it’s most certainly not the classic everyone makes it out to be either. Nor, is her 2003 debut, but that one comes a lot closer. Back to Black is the more consistent of the two but Frank has more highlights. In fact, two cuts from that album which I didn’t like all that much on first listen of that album but grew on me afterwards, Stronger than Me and Fuck Me Pumps, could, by a small margin, kick the entirety of Back to Black’s ass. That leaves it being an album which with its eleven tracks doesn’t overstay its welcome and has five pretty good songs and six not-too-bad lesser but not-quite-filler tracks. Disappointing, but not bad.

Recommendations

It’s okay.You can spend money on this if you want to. Just not too much, but chances are that you’ll find this in large stacks in the discount section of your local record store as literally everyone and their grandmother already owns a copy. There’s little chance you’ll hate it… Chances are you’ll find it pretty entertaining actually. Just don’t go so far as to proclaim this a classic. You’ll seem like an annoying bandwagon-jumper who’s out of touch with reality to people who have actually heard classic albums. And do put Amy’s debut Frank higher on your to do list. It is way better.


Wiz Khalifa – Show and Prove

Wiz Khalifa

Show and Prove

Rostrum Records

5-9-2006

Cameron “Wiz Khalifa” Thomaz is an MC from Pittsburg Pennsylvania who is steadily gaining popularity worldwide for his catchy, hooky, poppy electronic singalong songs about being from Pittsburg and smoking chron. He’s been gaining popularity since 2009/2010 but his first full length studio album Show and Prove came out in 2006 when he was eighteen, on the to me unknown entity Rostrum records which is most likely a local independent Pittsburg rap label owned by mr. Thomaz himself or one of his homeboys. The producers of the album were such unknowns as Johnny Juliano, ID Labs and Black Czer and the list of guest rappers is equally exciting. The album didn’t cause a bleep on the hiphop radar and probably didn’t get much spin outside of Pittsburg, obviously because it took him three more years of making mixtapes before anyone who was anybody claimed they had heard of him. Since I didn’t give half a fuck about the hit singles he’s been having as of late because they’re way too much on the Black Eyed Peas’ eurodance tip in my humble opinion, maybe his underground stuff will do more for me. Can’t say I’m looking forward to listening to Show and Prove though, so if you think I’m biased against who you believe to be hiphop’s lord and savior you’re damn right.

Right…

1. Intro

A one verse wonder over some very uplifting music. Wiz compares himself to B.I.G. in the very first bar… The fuck?

2. Pittsburg Sound

Apparently the Pittsburg Sound consists of Kanye/RZA-styled chipmunk vocals and G-funk-ish synths petending to be an organ. Not that this is the most original idea ever but it is pleasant nonetheless. Khalifa’s rapping sounds like a mix of the Game’s and Memphis Bleek’s, especially the former since he namedrops 50 Cent. I cannot remember jack shit he said but I didn’t get pissed at Pittsburg Sound while it was playing.

3. ‘Bout Mine

In comes a 12th rate Mannie Fresh imitation of an instrumental. Wiz calling himself the young Shaq  of rap is redundant because as I remember a younger Shaq released a few rap albums himself. It’s not terrible for what it is and I wouldn’t walk out if the DJ put this on in the club, so meh.

4. I Choose You

And back are the soul-samples. Except for that Wiz says he’ll take us back to ’97, which he does not do (nor should he according to most hiphop heads who wouldn’t like to return to the shiny suit era, although I’m not one of those)  Again I didn’t mind this one much but I still do hope some other styles than Southern bounce and ol’school-Kanye are getting explored.

5. Damn Thing

Another Southern-ish track… This one rips off Lil Jon producing Ciara, rather than imitating Mannie Fresh. The voice on the hook sounds like Timbaland. It’s really unlikely that it is him unless it is a sample. Khalifa tries his hand at speed-rapping here, which he did prior on bits of ‘Bout Mine. He’s not the worst rapper to ever do it but he isn’t awesome at it either.

6. Keep the Conversation (feat. Boaz)

And we’re back to chipmunk soul, although this incorporates latin-esque piano keys in a manner which’ll have you barely notice it unless you pay close attention. The guest rapper Boaz sounds generic, moreso than his host. So far Show and Prove sounds like two separate and very different albums by other artists thrown together in iTunes with each album providing a track in turn. This was probably intentionally done to keep listeners from getting bored by the monotony each style provides. It does not work.

7. Stay In Ur Lane

This sounds like N.W.A’s Prelude stretched out over the length of an entire song a lot. It helps break the monotony but sounds too much like a Documentary-era Game freestyling over a N.W.A beat to click with me. Especially because Cameron namedrops some people, although he does it maybe a few times during some songs rather than for the length of the entire fucking album.

8. Stand Up (feat. Kev da Hustla)

This track sounds like Just Blaze made it in one of his better days. Khalifa sounds like Game again because that guy did some very similar tracks with Blaze and off course the vocal similarity (which he really can’t help I suppose).

9. Too Late

An overely dramatic Dre post 2001-imitation. Did I tell you Wiz Khalifa sounds like the Game already?

10. I’m Gonna Ride

Now this one fools you into believing it will turn out a Just Blaze-ish soul-track but in stead goes the southern bounce-speedrapping route right after the intro.

11. Gotta Be a Star [Remix] (feat. Johnny Juliano & S. Money)

Khalifa invites some inferior artists to make him sound better in comparison, which seems to be the purpose of every guest rapper on Show and Prove by the way. It works but it doth not a good song make…

12. Let Em Know

I don’t care.

13. Sometimes (feat. Vali Porter)

This is actually some pretty smooth R&B-shit. While obviously this is a track made in a futile attempt to sell Show and Prove the ladies it does break the monotony a bit, also this is well-produced and both the R&B chick on the hook and our host provide adequate, though instantly forgettable performances. The high pitched vocal sample that is used here and there doesn’t even fuck it up for me. Well played sir.

14.  Locked and Loaded (feat. Kev da Hustla)

And we’re back to Mempis Bleek poorly imitating Southern stuff-sounding shit.
Kev da Hustla sounds exactly what you’d expect someone who calls himself that to sound so yeah this was not very good. While Show and Prove is a little oversaturated in the meh  I have to compliment Khalifa for keeping it low on the godawful.

15. Burn Somethin’

Cameron kicks off by saying “It’s another one of those”. And he ain’t lie.

16. Crazy Since the 80’s

I don’t know to whom the sample repeating the title over and over in the hook belongs but I don’t really care either. A bit of trivia, allmusic.com believes this is called Crazy Since the Bus

17. History in the Making/ Never Too Late

The dramatic guitars or synths-wanting-to-be-dramatic-guitars on History in the Making seem to be jacked straight from the soundtrack to a crappy ‘80s movie.  Never too Late is another College Drop Out rip-off. Like most of the tracks on Show and Prove, expertly produced but not original in the least bit and done better prior and since. And with that this album is over.

Best tracks
None, Show and Prove is pretty consistent throughout.

Conclusions

Well I didn’t hate Show and Prove. I don’t really know why I expected a Drake-rip off since that style wasn’t yet invented for Cameron to steal when this came out. This rather is what the Game’s second Aftermath album could’ve sounded like if it would’ve been released right after the Documentary and if Lil Jon and Mannie Fresh would’ve been brought in to also produce as well as Documentary vets ‘Ye and Dre. Well not exactly but it does describe the overall sound of the album pretty effectively. Either Khalifa’s producers raided the studios of the previously mentioned of A-class producers (and Lil Jon) for their most mediocre work, or they’re just really versatile in imitating beatsmiths when they’re at their least exceptional. The latter is the most probable. Wiz for his part also sounds like a bunch other rapper at their technically proficient but least exciting. I won’t say better rappers as the guy who he sounds like on here for the most part creates his lyrics by rhyming the names of other artists and their songs and albums with… the names of other artists and their songs and albums, and Khalifa doesn’t do that. On the other hand this does not contain anything as massiv as How We Do or Hate It or Love It (and no I am not trying to imply what this album lacks is 50 Cent’s hook sensibilities) so in the end we have a rather meh album which makes you want to hear the superior stuff which inspired it. But it does give a promise for better work in the future. Cameron is an adequate but unimaginative wordsmith who doesn’t drop any memorable lines on here but keeps the flow moving. However, since I have heard some of the work he has done since and my first thought was that he was simply trying to make money off the Drake demographic. This album trying pretty much the same thing with 2006’s flavors of the month: Game and Derrty South and that is why I’m not that interested in reviewing follow-ups because I mostly expect them to sound like expertly produced imitations of what’s popular at the time of release, although given how huge this guy is becoming I may not have much of a choice and there is off course chance of this guy vastly improving his skills in the five years since this album since he was eighteen at the time of its release. And his next albums may be better than the singles off them since mostly the boring tracks off an album get released off an album to become hits, so maybe if I do eventually get into his 2009 follow-up Deal or No Deal or his 2011 major label debut Rolling Papers I’ll be pleasantly surprised but let’s keep our expectations low for now.

Recommendations

As buying hiphop albums is concerned you could do a lot worse than Show and Prove but you could also do a lot better. If you don’t mind the heard-it-all-before beats and lyrics and just want something to bump in the ride or on the house party that’s absolutele mainstream hiphop from 2006 and you find this one for a fair price sure, g’head. But given the independent label nature of Show and Prove that is highly unlikely and if you come across a copy for major bucks don’t bother since this is nothing special really.