We headed over to Sony Studios last night to hear Fabolous present his new album (and first release for the Black Oasis), From Nothin To Somethin. Actually, we just wanted to try and get a flick wearing Fab's enormous winged Rich Yung pendant. Admit it - that's a fly MySpace pic right there! The photo op didn't happen, but we listened to the LP and will give you some fragmented thoughts after the jump.
The party started with a looped reel of Fab's Elektra-era videos accompanied by selected mixtape appearances. Which was awesome. Lil Mo bowling! DJ Clue laughing! It made us think about the era when dude still called himself "Fabolous Sport" and would pop up on mixtapes inbetween JoJo Pellegrino and "POV City Anthem." That trip down memory lane (which, admittedly, kept on going with thoughts about old girlfriends and shitty domestic cars) was a welcome one, but it only hammered home the fact that Fabolous really isn't all that enjoyable to listen to anymore.
(Goddamn, we are BLOGGING right now!)
As a whole, From Nothin To Somethin feels overlong and wildly homogenous. Much like Curtis, Fab has forgotten how to play to his strengths: a genuine gift for wordplay and humor. Remember the punchlines? Remember the winking references to his chipped teeth? Now we have turgid singles with Ne-Yo and truly generic verses - Corporate Rap at it's nadir. Whereas Fab could have easily picked uptempo, 2007 Slick Rick beats that might have inspired him a little (SON! CHAD WES HAS A PHONE NUMBER!), From Nothin... is filled with sorta-Southern sonics that never really go anywhere.
It's not like we were going in with unrealistically high expectations - dude never really had much to say, it's just that he used to do it with style. There were still bright points on the new LP, however. On "Jokes On You," Fab truly holds his own with Pusha T of the Clipse, trading comedian references and some genuinely clever bars. And the Runners-produced "Foggin Up The Windows" is a smash, featuring an unexpectedly slow beat and Fabolous at his most charismatic. There were also a few listed cuts we didn't get a chance to hear - how's Jay gonna come to the listening sesh and not drop the song he's on? - but something tells us the song with Ransom and Frek the Billionaire isn't really going to save the day. It will get us to bust out some recent vintage mixtapes though. CLUEMINATTI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
From Nothin To Somethin tracklist:
From Nothin To Somethin Intro (produced by Reefa)
Yup I'm Back (produced by Freebass)
Change Up f Akon (produced by Akon)
Make Me Better f Ne-Yo (produced by Timbaland)
Baby Don't Go f T-Pain (produced by Jermaine Dupri)
Return Of The Hustle (produced by Just Blaze)
Gangsta Don't Play f Junior Reid (produced by Reefa)
Real Playa Like f Lloyd (produced by Polow Da Don)
Let's Make Love f Keyshia Cole (produced by Jermaine Dupri)*
Diamonds f Young Jeezy (produced by Steve Morales)
Brooklyn f Jay Z and Uncle Murder (produced by Versatile)*
I'm The Man f Red Cafe (produced by Reefa)*
Hustla's Posterchild f Cassidy (produced by Neo Da Matrix)*
Joke's On You f Pusha T (produced by Don Cannon)*
What Should I Do f Lil Mo (produced by Amadeus)*
Foggin Up The Windows (produced by the Runners)
This Is Family f Ransom, Frek the Billionaire, Red Cafe, Joe Budden and Paul Cain (produced by Nova)*
First Time f Rhianna (produced by Big Tank)
* these tracks were not played at the listening session