Saturday, January 2, 2016

THE SUPREME FABOLOUS PROJECT (REVISED)

Dear loyal reader, before you proceed to this project, I want to extend a sincere apologize for any issues you may encounter while reading and viewing this project. During its final editing stage, there were some technical glitches which led to me having to conduct MULTIPLE edits until it got to a point that I considered presentable. So again, I apologize for any issues and especially if this is not on par with the quality of previous projects. Overall, I still feel good about said project and I hope you enjoy it as well!!!!!!


"Ice the world with the fabu(o)lous"

I know the line above came from Camp Lo's Geechie Suede at the end of "Killin Em Softly", but if there ever was an opening line for this project, that was it. As I continue to welcome you to the Supreme Fabolous project, a few words if I may. I first heard Fabolous on DJ Clue's "The Professional", courtesy of "That's The Way", which also featured Foxy Brown and Mase, and the dope "If They Want It". Needless to say, I was impressed very early on with Fab's presence on the mic, the style, the highly dope punchlines and metaphors and I can't forget about the confidence that you generally see in MCs hailing from Brooklyn, NY. Furthermore, I disregarded any comparisons or comments about him sounding like Mase, which was not the case and in fact, Fab is/was a much better artist than Mase in my view. When it was time for his 2001 debut, "Ghetto Fabolous", the anticipation for me was high, no doubt. So, with all this being said, I would like to welcome you (again) to the Supreme Fabolous Project, which will be THE most definitive look at his discography!! In addition to covering his studio albums, there will NINE bonus parts, yes you read that right, NINE bonus parts that will be noted as such throughout this project. After said intro, we jump RIGHT into things with his aforementioned debut!






Release date: September 11, 2001


(Note: I initially copped this the week after its release.)


THE GUESTS
Ja Rule
Jagged Edge
Lil' Mo
Nate Dogg

THE PRODUCERS
DJ Clue
DURO
The Neptunes
Rockwilder
Omen
Timbaland
Rush Da Spyda
Rick Rock
Just Blaze
Armando Colon
DJ Envy
Mono



1. "Click & Spark"


"These niggas gots to be punched/Act stupid, get shells in ya stomach, like you ate pasta for lunch"


Well we start things off with this brief, 2:05 opener. Nothing noteworthy to be sure, but as an opener to set the right tone for the rest of the album, this was decent.
*3 out of 5*


2. "Keepin' It Gangsta"

This will be the first of MANY apply titled songs under Fab's belt, no question. Granted, this song is nothing new on the surface (look at the title), however, I've always liked this one, mainly because while still cool, calm & collected, Fab still shows a gangsta side at the same time.
*4 out of 5*



3. "Young'n"



Over the familiar bump from the Neptunes, Fab is in his 2001 glory here, another good song. Although it's not credited as such, I know that's Pharrell working the hook with Fab.
*4 out of 5*



4. "Get Right"

Complete with its "call & response" hook, this was decent and designed for the dancefloor.
*3 out of 5*


5. "Ride For This"

Even with Fab on the rise at this point, I think most have forgotten how hot Ja Rule was during this same period, so it wasn't a total shock to see/hear him appear alongside Fab, whether he was just doing the hook or not. As a song, it's nothing we haven't heard before, but again, another decent song.
*3 out of 5*


6. "One Day"

"Youngsters, don't let these videos geese your mind/It ain't cool to end up deceased for shine/And if you can't get the whole pot, just take a piece and grind/Hold your head, your stress will cease in time" 


Not only do the lines above speaks volumes (especially to today's generation of youngsters), but this song finds Fab in an introspective form, reflecting on advice/encouraging words from his parents, hoping he would make it big one day, which he eventually did (very good song).
*4 out of 5*



7. "Trade It All"

This song, loyal reader, is the start of a trend for Fab: the "joint for the ladies" gracing every album to follow. Jagged Edge, who were also hot in 2001, were the perfect group to sing this hook. Fab is suave and sharp talking about the woman of his desires and how he would trade everything he has just for her. And when you have a man essentially "turning in his player card/jersey" for that special someone, that's a GOOD woman right there. (There was also remix/Part 2 to this which featured P. Diddy and Jagged Edge and it received a respectable amount of radio/TV play going into 2002.)
*4 out of 5*


8. "Right Now & Later On"

As SOON as the beat drops, you immediately knew it was Timbaland behind the boards. Pretty good song here, dope enough for the fellas and "just right" for the ladies.
*4 out of 5*


9. "Take You Home"

In the summer of 2001 heading into my senior year of high school, Lil' Mo's "Superwoman", which also featured Fab, had a heavy presence on radio and TV, so I expected Mo to appear on this album. Now, this song is not close to "Superwoman", but as another one for the ladies, it's decent, nothing more.
*3 out of 5*


10. "Get Smart"

This one serves as somewhat of an extended metaphor for, well, Fab wanting nothing but "good brains" if you get his meaning. Nothing more to say about this one.
*2 out of 5*


11. "Can't Deny It"


When I first heard this Rick Rock produced banger, I recall liking it immediately and with the late Nate Dogg on the hook, who was on a roll in '01 as far as dropping quality hooks during his guest appearances, was the icing on this proverbial cake and a damn good choice as the album's first single.
*4 out of 5*



12. "Ma' Be Easy"

This was ok, nothing more. At this point in the album, once you've heard this one, you've heard every other song on the album in some form.
*2.5 out of 5*


13. "We Don't Give A"

Fab was feeling Armando Colon's beat and it was good, matching Fab's "double time flow" all the way through. Oh yeah, can't forget about this one (lol): Fab even throws a subliminal shot (can you really call it that) at Mase, when he says "Ok I'll rap a lil faster/But do I really sound like I turned from a rapper to a pastor?" Wow, and that right there ended any and all comparisons to Mase as far as I'm concerned.
*4 out of 5*


14. "The Bad Guy"

Pain In Da Ass usually was spot on when doing his Al Pacino impressions, but at this point, I was like, "ok, we get it already". Even with the upcoming two bonus tracks, it was fitting for this to close the album featuring a lyrically aggressive Fab. 
*4 out of 5*


*15. "Gotta Be Thug"

This also appeared on the "Backstage: A Hard Knock Life" soundtrack. A good song to be sure, this follows the same storyline, if you will, of "Keepin' It Gangsta".
*4 out of 5*


*16. "If They Want It"

Yes indeed, this was the song that initially sold me on Fab and I've been a fan ever since. Like I said up top, this is a dope song and he was well on his way after this (and some additional freestyles and guest appearances).
*4 out of 5*



For a debut, this was good overall, but man, listening to this now and with hindsight being 20/20, Fab was TRULY capable of more. I know this clearly was his first album, but you also get the slight feeling that he was holding back, which is something that will not be the case as this project continues on. With that said, after going back and forth on the rating for this album for seemingly a long time, I'm settling in with a 3.5 for "Ghetto Fabolous".


*CERTIFIED PLATINUM on 2/6/2003*





Release date: March 4, 2003


THE GUESTS
Mike Shorey
Lil' Mo
Paul Cain
Snoop Dogg
Missy Elliott
Ashanti
Mary J. Blige
Styles P
Jadakiss
M.O.P.
P. Diddy
Jagged Edge
Tamia

 THE PRODUCTION
Rick Rock
Tone & Poke (Trackmasters)
Just Blaze
Precision
Omen
Clue & DURO
Chad Elliott
Mr. Fingaz
Linx
LZ
MAAD PHUNK!
Kanye West



1. "Intro"
DJ Clue's brief intro leads us into.....


2. "Not Give A Fuck"

This apply titled, Rick Rock produced joint is vintage Fabolous already, lol, and he certainly didn't waste any time delivering a line about throwback jerseys did he, lol? Either way, a very good song to lead us on our way.
*4 out of 5*



3. "Damn"

This one right here was more or less for the ladies who really feels Fab and his style. I also liked how Tone & Poke put a 2003 twist on Sugarhill Gang's classic "Rapper's Delight".
*3 out of 5*


4. "Call Me"

Well, much like the previous song, the ladies would certainly love this one, and trust me there are a few more songs like it on this album. I also liked Fab's nod to Jay-Z's "Girls, Girls, Girls" and Biggie's "One More Chance"on this song as well.
*3 out of 5*


5. "Can't Let You Go"



I remember this one being in heavy rotation on the radio at the time, definitely one of his biggest hits. With Lil' Mo and Mike Shorey on the hook, Fab is torn between his wife and the "side chick" (you got too many women in your life man, lol) and can't let either of them go (imagine that huh, lol). Fab also comes through with an admittedly slick line to justify having two women: "cause the entree ain't as good without somethin' on the side you know?"
*4 out of 5*


6. "Bad Bitch"

Precision's beat sounded like something straight out of the Trackmasters' playbook (that's no knock, just saying). And I'm not hating, but man, five songs (not counting the intro) into this album and 4 of the 5 songs are catering to the ladies, not to mention that this song wasn't as good as the previous 3. Let's continue on.
*2 out of 5*


7. "Why Wouldn't I"

Paul Cain, a frequent collaborator with Fab, stops by for this one, implementing the back and forth, tag team style throughout that the LOX's Styles P and Jadakiss perfected, respectively.
*4 out of 5*


8. "Up On Things"

First off, mad props to Clue and DURO for the West Coast styled production present here. A very good song, which would've been a little more better had Snoop dropped a verse.
*4 out of 5*



9. "Sickalicious"

I had no problem with this song, however, this is something that would've fit better on a Missy Elliott album rather than a Fab one.
*3 out of 5*


10. "This Is My Party"

I could really picture this playing off and on at a party Fab would throw, especially his birthday party, lol. Good song.
*4 out of 5*


11. "Into You"

This Ashanti assisted version didn't make its mark on the radio and TV like the remix did (which will be covered in a bit). Either way, a very good song, making it clear that naturally when you have someone special in your life, you're going to be so into that person, no doubt.
*4 out of 5*


12. "Change You or Change Me"

Another type of song that has been done often over the years in hip hop is the one when said artist explains how he/she won't change for anything or anyone. When done to death, they can be repetitive, but when done right, like Fab does here, what results is a dope song (with some sick piano keys from Omen) with a fresh perspective on the subject.
*4 out of 5*



13. "Respect"

Aside from the forgettable hook, Fab all but describes what will happen to those who don't show him the proper respect.
*3 out of 5*


14. "Forgive Me Father"

Although I'm pretty sure this wasn't his intention, if this was Fab's way of talking to God Almighty in terms of forgiving him for the sins he's committed, based on his success, in one way it kinda worked, but a song like this would've been better in a much more introspective form I feel.
*2.5 out of 5*


15. "Never Duplicated"

Ok, this song was good and I really get what Fab was going for, but the more I thought about it, there was an opportunity for Fab to take a song like this to another level (unfortunately that was missed here).
*3 out of 5*


16. "My Life"


This Mary J. Blige assisted song is cool, however, don't let the title fool you. It's not an introspective look at the life of Fab, but rather a look at the fabulous side of his life for the most part. I also liked it any time the Ohio Players' "Pride and Vanity" was sampled, which Kanye West did very well here as well as delivering a nod to Mary J and Grand Puba's classic "What's The 411".

*3 out of 5*


*17. "Throw Back"

This is the first of four bonus tracks, and to say that Fab shows incredible love to throwback jerseys is a complete understatement on this one.
*4 out of 5*




*18. "Keepin' It Gangsta (Remix)"

Quite the dope, underrated remix right here. Jadakiss and Styles P from the LOX come through with their back & forth, tag team style flows, with Fab and Paul Cain following suit, leading to the closing, amped up verses from M.O.P.
*4 out of 5*



*19. "Trade It All (Part 2)"

As mentioned, this was the sequel to the original from the "Ghetto Fabolous" album, featuring P. Diddy and Jagged Edge. It's just as good as the original if not better.
*3 out of 5*


*20. "Into You (Remix)"



Much like the previous song, this remix, with Tamia on the hook, received a nice amount of radio play back in 2002, even heading into 2003. This one is mostly better than the original due to the soul brought by Tamia (and that's no knock on the good job Ashanti did on the original), even with the same lyrics.
*4 out of 5*  



While this is a decent, 3.5 star album (1.3 million copies sold, Certified Platinum) with a few top hits throughout, this was a slight step down from "Ghetto Fabolous". You can safely say that Fab took all the elements from his debut and applied them here, but there was nothing that separated it from said debut, outside of a few more radio friendly singles and tracks for the ladies. Things will indeed pick up, quality wise, once we get to "Real Talk", but first, as we continue this project, we head into bonus #1.  




This would mark Fab's first mixtape, arriving 8 months after "Street Dreams", so even though it was a little late, he felt he needed to capitalize on that album's momentum (which really didn't have much, even compared to "Ghetto Fabolous"). I believe it also was probably one of the first mixtapes to be officially released. I normally don't review mixtapes, but for the sake of this project, there will be exceptions.

Release date: November 4, 2003


THE GUESTS
Paul Cain
Joe Budden
Mike Shorey

 THE PRODUCTION
Fab
Clue & DURO
DJ Scratchator
Needlz
Just Blaze
Mr. Fingaz



1. "Niggaz"

Fab, Paul Cain and Joe Budden rework the late Half A Mil's classic "Some Niggaz" to very good results (the first of a few reworkings). Speaking of Budden, he also released his self titled debut in '03.


2. "Now What"

Clocking in at 2:20, this was more of a freestyle which finds Fab going in over Eve's "What" instrumental.


3. "Rims (Skit)"
Nothing much to say about this pointless skit, so let's move on.


4. "Now Ride"

I guess it was only right that this song came after the previous skit right, lol? Decent song here, nothing more or less, with a few dope lines sprinkled throughout.
*3 out of 5*


5. "Think Y'all Know"

This right here is one of the tightest songs on this mixtape, a joint I've always liked. Needlz brings a dope beat as Fab does come with some excessive bragging in spots, but he's nice with it, mainly speaking on how dope he is, and still managed to throw another shot at Mase during the second verse (lol).
*4 out of 5*


6. "Chicks (Skit)"


7. "Make U Mine" 

Kelly Rowland's "Make You Wanna Stay" serves as the instrumental here. Fab and Mike Shorey do work it pretty well, and even though the title may suggest it's another one for the ladies, I'll say it's hard enough for the fellas and smooth enough for the ladies.


8. "Fabolouso"

A very brief freestyle over R. Kelly's "Who's That".


9. "Fire (Remix)"

This Just Blaze production was one of many notable styles that came from him during this time and it's pretty good, complete with a vibe tailor made for the dancefloor. Budden and Cain also come along for the ride here.
*4 out of 5*


10. "I Usually Don't"

Quite a forgettable song here and I wouldn't be surprised if it was cut from the "Street Dreams" album.
*2 out of 5*


11. "Renegade"


Fab and Cain come with some decent bars over Jay-Z's "Renegade".

*3 out of 5*

12. "Fuck You Too"

Fab and Cain tried, but man, they did no justice to LOX's "Fuck You".
*2.5 out of 5*



13. "B.K. Style"

Fab comes through with two verses over the instrumental to Lil Kim's "This Is Who I Am".
*3 out of 5*



14. "Can't Let You Go"

This is what I would call the true opposite of the original version that's for sure. Fab comes correct over a tight Just Blaze production, nice way to close this mixtape.
*4 out of 5*




It wouldn't be fair to compare this to "Street Dreams", obviously because one is an actual (studio) album and the other is a mixtape, albeit an official one. If this was something to lead into the aforementioned "Street Dreams" album, it would've done a good job of building anticipation for that album, but since that's not the case, let's chalk it up to this being a relatively decent mixtape overall.





Release date: November 9, 2004


THE GUESTS
Pharrell
Mike Shorey
Charlie Murphy
Young Jeezy
Lil Mo
Sean Paul
Thara
Paul Cain
Nate Dogg

THE PRODUCTION
Jovonn "JV" Alexander
"Hotrunner" TL
DJ Khaled
The Neptunes
Flame Throwers
Tone & Poke 
Gerald Harmon
Keith Wilking
J.R.
Reefa
Just Blaze
Scott Storch
Dangerous, LLC




1. "Exodus"
Black Ice comes through with a spoken word, "real talk" intro, which leads into.....


2. "Don't Stop Won't Stop"

Listening to this again, this was straight Fabolous of course, but it also comes off as being a song that could've had a strong Bad Boy influence if he was with the label, which is not knocking it at all. Good song.
*4 out of 5*


3. "Real Talk (123)"

Quite the dope title track here, in which Fab goes in on those talk the talk, but can't walk the walk, frontin, etc. Whatever way you want to describe it as, it's touched on here and the title "Real Talk" is appropriate for this lyrical occasion.
*4 out of 5*



4. "Gangsta"

"And it take a little more than lettin' ya pants sag/Ya sand bag, tryna jump on the band wag/I'll put the red dot on you like a Japan flag/You need some high heels and a handbag, bitch!"


The lines above are my favorites from this DJ Khaled produced joint. It's almost like a 2004 revisit of "Keepin' It Gangsta" and it's just as good if not better.
*4 out of 5*



5. "Tit 4 Tat"

Fab hooks up with the Neptunes again for this one, which also has Pharrell on the hook, plus it was featured in the "Fight Night 2" video game. It may have a slight humorous tone throughout, but it's still a good song.
*4 out of 5*


6. "Baby"



Interestingly enough, I recall not liking this song at all when it was on the radio back in '04 heading into '05, however, in time it won me over, a lot. Granted, it's another song for the ladies, but it's smooth, like the accompanying video, and it really makes its points. In terms of Fab's songs for the fairer sex, this may be his best, even though it'll be challenged by one other song that will be covered later in this project. Great stuff here.
*4 out of 5*



7. "Girls"

And we go from "smooth" to something we have heard before (and done better quite frankly). I'm sure the girls/ladies love this one, but from a man's perspective, it's a bit forgettable, and Poke and Tone utilizing Run-DMC's "King Of Rock" for a brief sample does not help this one at all.
*2 out of 5*


8. "Church"

I get what Fab was going for here ("I preach through my raps", "I'm spittin the gospel", etc), however, it more or less seemed like this was just to get the hilarious Charlie Murphy, who was making noise around this time based on his appearances on "The Dave Chappelle Show", on a track.
*3 out of 5*


9. "Can You Hear Me"

Whether any of the stories Fab tells in this one are based on real life events or not, it doesn't distract from the fact that it's one of the deepest songs on the album, and at the same time servicing as a tribute to those who are no longer with us. I also have to mention that Fab makes it a point at the end of each verse to say "it's fucked up" how these individuals lives were lost over trusting and being around the wrong people, as well as materialistic possessions.
*4 out of 5*



10. "Do The Damn Thing"

"I been one of them boys since way back when/This was way before a nigga brought weight packs in/So if I spray mac 10's/Bet you niggas lay back like you in the Maybach Benz" -Fab


Fab and (Young) Jeezy, the latter sounding very different today than he did at this point obviously and would blow up the next year, hook up for this bass driven, East-South connection.
*4 out of 5*


11. "Holla At Somebody Real"

Reefa, who produced the previous song, comes through with a soulful track and a nice sample of Schooly D's "PSK (What Does It Mean). Lil Mo, who had very good chemistry with Fab (not sure if I mentioned that already), comes through for the hook. Another one the ladies should love, but it's not "too soft" for the fellas either.
*4 out of 5*


12. "It's Alright"

This Sean Paul assisted, Just Blaze produced song is a decent blend of something for the ladies (again) and something for the dancefloor.
*3 out of 5*


13. "Breathe"


"....But I'm so fast when I blow past that they can't (breathe)/In the presence of the man/Your future look better than your past if you present with the man"

"And I'm getting better year by year, like they say wine do/Cops couldn't smell me if you brought the K-9's through/And I pace myself/I know these money-hungry bitches wanna taste my wealth/But I keep em on a diet/Embrace they health, or either keep em on the quiet/And space myself and just take a deep breath"


Definitely the best song on this album, hands down. Many people I know have said that this is Fab's best work and you might be hard pressed to find a better song from Fab than this. I mean, he was feeling it here. Speaking of feeling it, Just Blaze was doing just that behind the boards, creating a DOPE beat complete with an ill sample of Supertramp's "Crime of the Century", and some would say this was his best beat ever. Classic.
*5 out of 5*



14. "Young & Sexy"

I don't know if the ladies "25 and over" could've handled this (then and now), but then again, the song has such a smooth vibe that maybe those in that age bracket could handle this under the right circumstances, lol. 
*4 out of 5*


15. "Round & Round"

"You never seen one of the nastiest lyricist/Speed through like he in the Fast and the Furious"

"Girls want me on they ass like back pockets on the jeans/I just try to plug into the socket in between"

"I can throw down tequila/Put slugs and banana clips that'll slow down gorillas/Girl, move like you in a Hula Hoop/Then blow me like you tryin' to cool ya soup, I'm hot!"


What a thumping, Scott Storch produced banger this is, and again, Fab was feeling it all around here. Dope stuff.
*5 out of 5*



16. "In My Hood"

Yes, you can argue, rightfully so, that we've heard songs like this MANY times over the years in hip hop, but like I always say, when covering a familiar topic is done right, the results usually turn out to be very good, which is certainly the case here. (For example, 50 Cent would have a song with this same title on his sophomore album, "The Massacre", 3 1/2 months after this.)
*4 out of 5*


17. "Ghetto"

Well, this song wasn't bad or anything, but take a look at what I said in the previous song: it's the opposite. Fab does close the song with a tight verse though.
*3 out of 5*


18. "Po-Po"

This was a pretty good way to close the album. The song starts with Fab getting pulled over by the police, who alleges he was in a "UFO (unidentified Ferrari looking object)" and speeding. While the cop apparently goes to run Fab's plates or whatever, the song begins with Fab and Paul Cain essentially rapping out their frustrations, unbeknownst to the cop (with Nate Dogg on the hook too). I won't spoil the conclusion, however, you can decide if it was a foregone one or not.
*4 out of 5*



Even with a couple of filler songs, this was an excellent album from Fab, definitely his best one to this point. He took all the elements from his first two albums and improved on the formula, plus the largely good production helped a lot in the process (4 star effort). With 550,000 units moved (to date), it was Certified Gold a month after its release on December 13th. He would return almost 3 years later with his fourth album, "From Nothin' To Somethin".





Release date: June 12, 2007


THE GUESTS 
Akon
Ne-Yo
T-Pain
Swizz Beatz
Junior Reid
Lloyd
Rihanna
Young Jeezy
Jay-Z 
Uncle Murda
Red Cafe
Pusha T
Lil' Mo
Ransom
Freck Billionaire
Joe Budden
Paul Cain

THE PRODUCTION
Reefa
Freebass
Akon
Timbaland
Jermaine Dupri
Just Blaze
Polow Da Don
Big Tank
Steve Morales
Soram
Versatile
Don Cannon
Antwan "Amadeus" Thompson
Nova   



1. "From Nothin' To Somethin (Intro)"
Usually an intro, song or whatever opens an album, it's said material that sets the tone for what's to follow. Now, even though I don't rate intros, except in certain cases, but I felt Fab was either TOO laid back or uninspired on this particular intro, not the way you want to start any album. Let's continue on.


2. "Yep, I'm Back"

What's interesting here is that the SAME flow/sound that Fab had on the intro is present on this song, which actually should've opened the album if you ask me. What makes this one work is the lyrics and Freebase's dope beat ("boom.. clap... boom clap).
*4 out of 5*



3. "Change Up"

"Yo, I make the money, but don't let it make me/So even if I go broke nigga you couldn't break me"

 "Being broke is a joke, I never found it funny/That's why I count my blessings as much as I count my money"


Again, this is another one of those songs where even though we have heard it numerous times in hip hop, if it's done right, that's a good thing. In short, Fab isn't changing for anyone or anything and one lesson learned is to not let money, success, etc, change you in any form.
*4 out of 5*


4. "Make Me Better"


In another interesting fact, there was a point when I couldn't stand this song, mostly due to the seemingly never ending play it received in '07, however, over time it has won me over (honestly I've noticed the ladies like this one more than the fellas do). Ne-Yo, who was making a name for himself at this point on the R&B side, did a very good job on the hook. The theme is simple yet effective: "I'm a movement by myself, but I'm a force when we're together." What woman doesn't like to hear that? 
*4 out of 5*



5"Baby Don't Go"


T-Pain, also making a name for himself at this point, comes through for the hook, and again, it's another one the ladies should love, nothing more to say. Fab did get in some notable lines: "Don't lose someone you love though over your pride/Stick wit'cha entree and get over your side." Quite the turnaround from what he said on "Can't Let You Go" isn't it?
*3 out of 5*


6. "Return Of The Hustle"

If you're looking at this title and don't know what this song is about, I'm not sure what to tell you, lol. I like the nice touch Just Blaze brings with the marching band esque sound, not sure if Swizz on the hook was a good move, but the song is mostly good.
*3.5 out of 5*


7. "Gangsta Don't Play"

Reefa came through with a bangin' beat for Fab and guest Junior Reid (on the hook). This is your standard gangsta fare, nothing new or different.
*3.5 out of 5*


8. "Real Playa Like"

The lyrics, the beat and the Lloyd feature means, you guessed it, another one for the ladies.
*3 out of 5*


9. "First Time"

Rihanna, another talent making a name for herself at this point (notice a trend with these guest appearances), joins Fab for this one. Fab goes into details about the woman of his eye that he wants to "experience" for the first time. I have nothing more to say about this one other than "we get it already". Let's move on.
*2 out of 5*


10. "Diamonds"

This Jeezy assisted song is one of many examples of the hip hop sound, circa 2007, specifically in reference to the hook and the beat. Decent, nothing more.
*3 out of 5*


11. "Brooklyn"

You can never big up where you from too much, and what we have here is another tribute to Brooklyn, courtesy of Fab, Jay-Z and Uncle Murda. Versatile came through with a true throwback, boom bap sound complete with the oh so familiar Biggie ("where Brooklyn at") samples. Definitely the third best song on the album. Biggie would've been proud.
*4 out of 5*




12. "I'm The Man"

Guest Red Cafe, who did a few collabos with Fab, stops by for "hook duty" on this apply titled song.
*3 out of 5*


13. "Jokes On You"

This may be another song about "getting money", however, Fab and Clipse's Pusha T work Don Cannon's beat pretty well (Mr. Cannon is another underrated producer), especially coming with the sick use of the organs. Very good song.
*4 out of 5*


14. "What Should I Do"
 
When you see that Fab and Lil' Mo are on a song together, you automatically know what to expect, however, in the case of this song, we get something TOTALLY different from their previous collabos. This song is based on real life letters that Fab did receive as part of a fan club he had years prior. The three verses/letters finds fans dealing with imprisonment (and not seeing her daughter due to this), a Spanish man facing war and a teen dealing with the pending divorce of her parents. It's quite deep as you listen to it and it's the best song on the album overall. This would've been a great closer, but instead we get the following bonus track....
*5 out of 5*



*15. "This Is Family"

For this high powered posse cut, Ransom, Paul Cain, Joe Budden, Red Cafe and Freck Billionaire join Fab for a punchline filled fest (too many lines to quote here and I still couldn't tell you who had the best verse). Nova comes through with an equally high powered production, featuring an ill sample of the Barrino Brothers' "I Can't Believe You're Gone".  Probably one of the more underrated posse cuts you'll ever hear.
*5 out of 5*



3.5 star rating for this album (and it was close to 3 at various points). There are a few very good songs on this album, but you can sum it up to the standard Fabolous fare, respectively. There were also loads of guest appearances throughout, which was not the case with his previous three albums (even though said albums had their share of guests too). It's interesting to note that, in my view, Fab sounded different overall. At times he would sound inspired, other times he sounded the complete opposite, so he may have been resting on his laurels a bit in 2007. With 542,000 units moved, the album is another Certified Gold one in Fab's discography. 




BONUS #2

Release date: February 13, 2008



1. "Intro"
This intro consists of a brief (rapped) word by Fab and the unmistakable voice of DJ Drama introducing the mixtape, their first together.

2. "Niggas Know"
Basically a 27 second interlude.


3. "Suicide"

"For all of ya'll I know you're feeling yourself/Yeah going against me is like killing yourself nigga"


The lines above effectively define this dope song, no doubt. Fab goes in throughout this one, with no shortage of punchlines (somewhat of a warning to the competition).
*4 out of 5* 



4. "Fuck Wit' Street Fam"
Featuring Neo da Matrix


".....If you like your chick, nigga don't bring her round/The bob barker king in town/If the price is right yeah I'm a bring her down" 


Pretty dope lines right there. In terms of the beat, when the hook came, this one had a "Bout It, Bout It" esque vibe to it. Good song, all about that Street Fam.
*3 out of 5*


5. "We Do This Shit"


6. "Back To The Damn Thing"

Over the instrumental to Young Buck's "Get Buck", Fab is "back to the damn thing" and he works this Southern beat with an East Coast style. Dope.
*4 out of 5*



7. "Here's Another Hit"

Fab does a decent job flowing of Kanye West's "Barry Bonds", but he didn't go in like he could've.
*3 out of 5*


8. "Paperman"
Featuring Neo da Matrix

Another song about the almighty dollar and it's one that this mixtape could've done without, plus it was about 1 1/2 minute too long.
*2 out of 5*


9. "Takin' Pictures"
Featuring Red Cafe, Paul Cain and Freck Billionaire
Produced by Dame Grease

Usually when any combination of these four get on the same track, you can expect something dope, and that's what we get here (and again, no shortage of punchlines).
*4 out of 5*



10. "Mo Cars Mo Hoes"
Featuring Freck Billionaire

Well, you can look at the title and immediately know what this one is about. It's the lyrics that save what would've been a forgettable, Southern style track.
*3 out of 5*


11. "Hustla's Poster Child"
Featuring Cassidy


"Them wire taps make a hustler nervous/Got a problem? Don't call me I ain't customer service" -Fab

"Fuck a 9 to 5, I'm a hustleholic/I need rubberbands, these stacks'll bust a wallet" -Fab


You know what to expect here. It's all about the hustle and that's at the forefront of this one.
*4 out of 5*



12. "Hand On My Glock"
Featuring LA The Darkman and Willie The Kid

Fab didn't even appear here, leaving this as a (decent) showcase for LA and Willie.
*3 out of 5*


13. "I'm Gettin' Money"
Featuring Freck Billionaire

"Ya' see I'm nothing like y'all guys/I just do the stuntin', y'all niggas fall guys" -Freck

"I'm rich bitch and I'm screamin' it like Ashy Larry/They call me Brinks boy, maybe it's the cash I carry" -Fab


This is much better than song 10 that's for sure, with Fab and Freck receiving almost equal time going in with their punchline laced verses.
*4 out of 5*


14. "U Ain't Sayin' Shit"

I think Fab was trying to go for some laughs here, even with a couple of dope lines throughout.
*2.5 out of 5*


15. "Brooklyn's Finest"
Fab thanks Drama for the opportunity.

16. "Fuck Em' All"
Featuring Red Cafe

"You so lame it should be your first name/And I'm so raw, I'm Bolivian cocaine/I'm the next of kin to Loso or Kane/I'm disrespectful I'm drivin' in both lanes" -Red Cafe

"Now these joker nigga's O.D, pullin' the Heath Ledge'/So I'm a kill a cow, make sure that the beef's dead" -Fab


In addition to Fab and Cafe flowing over Rick Ross' "The Boss", this one was somewhat brief, clocking in at 2:05. They could've used another minute or so.
*3.5 out of 5*


17. "Paper Touchin"
Featuring Red Cafe

This was a solo showcase for Red Cafe. As this project continues, I'll also have a bit more to say about him.
*3 out of 5*


18. "Fall Back"

"Got three little women like the pop singing group/I make my point, the ball drop through the hoop"

"....And I'm so flagrant/Aim at the neck when I spread that fragrance/I went chrome like cologne/Smell me, nothing you can tell me, gone"


At 2:18, this also was too short, with Fab going in over such a dope beat, complete with a slight gangsta twist.
*3.5 out of 5*



19. "I Came For The Money"

In this easy to follow story, some cat owes Fab money, and with this cat trying to duck Fab at every opportunity, Fab is seemingly going through hell and high water to recoup his money.
*3.5 out of 5*


20. "I Don't See Nobody"

This refers back to the title of the mixtape, "There Is No Competition", nothing more or less.
*3 out of 5*


21. "I'm Da Man (Remix)"
Featuring Red Cafe, Paul Cain and Freck Billionaire

"The young bitches say "let me hold a stack man"/They heard I eat across the board like Pac-Man" -Freck


I liked how all 4 MCs used the word "man" evenly throughout their verses. And yes, although this isn't saying too much, this remix is better than the original.
*4 out of 5* 




22. "Pimp By Blood"

I won't analyze this one too much (clocking in at 1:18), however, I'll say that as a longer song, it probably could've worked. And for someone who has never been a fan of the "screwed & chopped" style, of course I don't care when ANY East Coast material receives that treatment (yes I'm biased I know, lol).

23. "Say Hello"

Fab did a decent job over Jay-Z's "Say Hello", but man, no one owned that DJ Toomp produced banger like Jay did, and that's no shot at Fab at all.
*3 out of 5*


24. "Outro"
Fab thanks Drama again to close the mixtape.

*25. "Dope Boys"

Speaking of Jay-Z, Fab comes through with this somewhat celebratory bonus, using the "Roc Boys (And The Winner Is)" as the instrumental.
*3 out of 5*


If I were to rate this mixtape, I'd likely give it a solid 3.5 star rating (Fab still knew how to lace an instrumental in a freestyle form). Fab connected well with DJ Drama and listening to this again, it's clear that a second installment in the "There Is No Competition" series was imminent (just wait until I get to that one, trust me). 

"There Is No Competition" Download 





Release date: July 28, 2009


I want to speak on a few things before I get into this album, Fab's 5th. My #7 favorite movie of all time is "Carlito's Way", so right off the bat Fab received many props from me for the influence that classic movie plays in certain parts of this album. Also, the deluxe edition of "Loso's Way" was accompanied by a bonus DVD, titled "Loso's Way". Clocking in 33:03, I seen it once and I honestly didn't like it all that much. Usually when a bonus DVD is included with an album, especially if it's in movie form, the results can be hit or miss most of the time.




THE GUESTS
Jeremih
Kobe
Keri Hilson
The Dream
Jay-Z
Lil Wayne
Paul Cain
Red Cafe
Freck Billionaire
Ryan Leslie
Ne-Yo
Trey Songz
Marsha Ambrosius

THE PRODUCTION
STREETRUNNER
The Runners
DJ Khalil
J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League
Ryan Leslie
C. "Tricky" Stewart
Terius "The Dream" Nash
Jermaine Dupri
Sami Wilf
Rico Law
THE BLACKOUT MOVEMENT
No-ID
LRoc
Sid V
The Alchemist
Syience
Sean C and LV



1. "The Way (Intro)

"Eww, you niggas disgust me/And they ain't talkin 'bout shit unless they discuss (disgust) me!"


Man, definitely the dopest opener EVER on a Fab album. Not only does he completely own the thumping STREETRUNNER production, but he becomes more aggressive with his delivery towards the end (bars galore). Highly dope stuff here. (I did a "Best Opener" countdown on the blog a couple of years ago and this song did make that list.)
*5 out of 5*



2. "My Time"



After the highly dope intro, we head right into a very good song in "My Time". I like how Fab essentially set out to prove himself all over again and mark his territory in a hip hop form. Jeremih also comes through good on the hook. 
*4 out of 5*



3. "Imma Do It"

"Feelin just like JFK/In the city that let em fly like JFK/Sometimes LaGaurdia I ain't gone lie to ya/If looks could kill then my style might body ya!"

"I can hold my head high and die or I can live and duck/My attitude is celibate, I don't give a fuck!"

"Now who are you to tell me how to conduct myself/Why don't you go practice safe sex and go fuck yourself!"


Fab was feeling it here (along with Kobe) and lyrically he was continuing to get the done job. Quite the apply titled banger.
*4 out of 5*



4. "Feels Like I'm Back"

I feel like this song should've came after "The Way", but it's all good. With this album coming 2 years after "From Nothin' To Somethin", I can see why Fab felt like he was back and much more confident and inspired, plus the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League production was the icing on the cake here.
*4 out of 5*


5. "Everything, Everyday, Everywhere"

Guest Keri Hilson, someone I'm a fan of in more ways than one and making a name for herself on the R&B side at this point, shines almost as bright as Fab here. The song itself sounds like it could've been on any one of the previous four albums, but that's no knock, still decent.
*3.5 out of 5*


6. "Throw It In The Bag"



"Throw it in the bag", well, I can't wait to have this problem in the future, lol! Even though this is certainly for the ladies, I've always been a fan of this one and it does bang that's for sure. The-Dream, also making a name for himself at this point in '09, was the best selection for the hook while Fab did one of many things he does well: talk to the ladies with such flair. Very good. (Most people may not know that the lovely Claudia Jordan, known for her spot on the "Rickey Smiley Morning Show" and starring in "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" makes an appearance in this video.)
*4 out of 5*



7. "Money Goes, Honey Stay (When The Money Goes Remix)

"When the money goes, will the honeys stay/When the gray skies replace the sunny days" -Jay-Z


Genius.com perfectly describes this song:
"The song narrates a worst-case-scenario-type situation that Fabolous sees as the ultimate test of his woman’s loyalty."


With that being said, it's still a good song, even if it may have you thinking at various points (that may be over-analysis, but work with me here, lol). It seems like the song ends just when you're starting to get into it more. I also feel that even though we got "Brooklyn" on the last album, which also featured Uncle Murda, and with all due respect to this song, we never really got that Fab/Jay collabo that I would've like to have seen at some point (with a verse or two from Jay, not just him on the hook), and sadly it may be too late for that now.
*4 out of 5*



8. "Salute"

"You want this whopper come and get your beef nigga/I'm not a boxer, I'mma be brief nigga" -Fab


Producer Rico Law was sick with the drums, horns and bass for another apply titled banger. Lil Wayne, still hot in '09, usually would have some sort of guest appearance during this time and "Salute" was no different. I'm not a fan as most of you know, however, I did like his bars: "Uh, now just say hello to the captain/And I stay away from magnets cause the metals what I'm packin." Tight song.
*4 out of 5*



9. "There He Go"

"Only be wit winners they should put me as a prize/And you pussy niggas should be put between some thighs" -Fab

"Get the magazine if you wanna vibe wit it/That rich young queen like I mixed Tide wit it" -Red Cafe


Yes, you already know what you're going to get when you get the Street Fam on the same track. This time around, they're showing the listener how they're so fly lyrically. (By the way, whoever the woman is on the hook was not credited for some reason.)
*4 out of 5*


10. "The Fabolous Life"

"Maybach cause I'm not a limousine guy/Suit with the bow tie, no bean pies"  

"Picture me anywhere a clown stays at/I don't think so, homey don't play that"


This appropriately titled, Ryan Leslie featured and produced song is nice and smooth (and himself another artist on this album whose star was on the rise in '09 on the R&B side), pun intended. It may be the same as usual in terms of a song like this, but it's still exceptionally good.



11. "Makin' Love"

Well, it wouldn't be a Fab album without (another) song for the ladies (look at the title). Speaking of the ladies, I'm sure you all would like this one, complete with Ne-Yo feature.
*3 out of 5*


12. "Last Time"

Read what I said about "Makin' Love", substitute Ne-Yo for guest Trey Songz and the SAME thoughts apply to this one.
*3 out of 5*


13. "Pachanga"

"A thug changes and love changes/And best friends become strangers, Pachanga"


In addition to the nod to Nas and part of the last line of his classic song "The Message", this song is based on the Pachanga character from the aforementioned "Carlito's Way", played by actor Luis Guzman. In the movie, Pachanga started off as a bodyguard, of sorts, as well as a friend of Carlito (played by the legendary Al Pacino), but it became more and more clearer throughout that Pachanga was progressing less and less and becoming more unhappy by the minute, leading to him eventually turning and spying on Carlito. Best friends becoming strangers indeed and a very good song to boot. 
*4 out of 5*




14. "Lullaby"

Naw, Fab is not looking to put the haters to sleep in the traditional sense if you know what I mean (lol). Step to Fab and you'll get lyrically and/or physically bodied, no doubt (he came through with some more ill punchlines here). 
*4 out of 5*


15. "Stay"

The dedication from Fab here is two fold if you ask me: with such sadness and slight anger in his voice, he talks about his frustrations with his father not being part of his life like he should've been and secondly, he makes it clear to his son that he's going to be a father in his life and "die being one". Powerful and emotional, even if it ends somewhat abruptly.
*5 out of 5*



16. "I Miss My Love"

On this closer, Fab flexes his storytelling muscles and it's not just a song about the woman in his life. Even if this may be a fictional tale, you really have to take your time with the two verses and then when the second verse comes to an end, you can draw your own conclusions as to what Fab's true feelings for this woman were. Great way to close this album.
*4 out of 5*



I said it then and I continue to say it today, THIS is Fab's best album hands down (moving 221,000 units to date). Not only was he more inspired this time around, but he was more focused and the result was truly a cohesive album from start to finish. It also showed his growth as an artist in my view, even if it may have a come a few years too late. 4.5 stars for "Loso's Way" and one of the best albums of 2009.


And before I get to the third bonus, I want to discuss the "sequel". When I first bumped "Loso's Way" and the album was over, I immediately said "he has to come with "Loso's Way 2: Rise To Power". Since 2010 or so, LW2 has been mentioned off and on, with Fab stopping short of announcing any release date and as of this posting, it's still up in the air as to whether the album will ever see the light of day or not, and honestly I wouldn't be surprised if he has already completed the album but it's tucked safely in a vault. I'm sure you're reading this Fab, you gotta give us the sequel before it's too late homie!




Bonus #3

Release date: March 5, 2010


[Several weeks after its release, this mixtape was in heavy rotation for me at the time, and it was actually one of the first DJ Drama mixtapes I ever checked out. Needless to say, this part of the project should be an interesting one in terms of a revisit.]




1. "The Wake"

The mixtape gets under way with a dope opener, appropriately titled as well. Fab wastes no time going in with the punchlines (and no hook) over an equally dope beat. Drama said it best, "this will be fun". No doubt.
*4 out of 5*



2. "Im Raw"

The dopeness continues with another appropriately titled, dope song (again with no hook) complete with ill punchlines (just like the opener), clocking in at an even 3 minutes.
*4 out of 5*



3. "Body Ya"

"Better me better you etc etc/Shout out to the followers I will stay ahead of ya"

Shout out to the groupies, shout out to my ex/Prolly sayin fuck me so shout out to the sex"


And the ill bars above are just some of what Fab offers here, another dope one three cuts into this mixtape. I kept saying to myself, "he's killin this joint" (lol).
*4 out of 5*



4. "Hard"
Featuring Kobe, Paul Cain and LA The Darkman"

"Time to send em flowers and cards with our regards/A special rest in peace goes to all you cowards and frauds/Like water in the freezer that's how I go hard/Fly in ya bitches' legs, Twin Tower ya broad" -Fab

Rihanna's "Hard" was one of the hottest songs of 2010 in my view (definitely the hardest thing she's ever done) and that instrumental was well served for Fab, Kobe, Cain and LA. Continuous dopeness here.
*4 out of 5*



5. "Oh Let's Do It"

I've never been a fan of Waka Flocka (I still shake my head at that damn name) and it's still crazy to think that his song of the same title (instrumental used here) was hot at this point too. Needless to say, bias aside, Fab works this beat way better than Waka ever could, which is not a difficult task to begin with.
*3 out of 5*


6. "Suicide 2"
Featuring Paul Cain and Freck Billionaire

The theme: going against these men is like killing yourself (points taken, lol). Decent, nothing more or less, including extra points for the nods to Slick Rick (Cain) and Biggie (Fab). And was it just me or did Freck sound like Red Cafe on this one?
*3.5 out of 5*


7. "Its Goin Down"
Featuring Freck Billionaire and Red Cafe

Speaking of Red Cafe, he does appear on the final verse of this one, but wasn't credited for some reason. Good song here.
*4 out of 5*


8. "Roger That"
Featuring Freck Billionaire

Young Money's "Roger That" is the instrumental for this "hip hop APB" to the competition, and hot damn Fab and Freck kill this one, punchlines galore. 
*4 out of 5*



9. "Love Come Down"

This was ok, but it was one of the lesser tracks to be found here. Let's continue on.
*2.5 out of 5*


10. "Popular Demand"
Featuring Paul Cain

Fab and Cain work another instrumental incredibly well, this time in the form of Clipse's "Popular Demand", which is also a dope song in its own right.
*4 out of 5*



10. "Mr. R.I.P."

Fab comes with the usual over Young Jeezy's "Mr. 17-5" instrumental.
*3 out of 5*


11. "Body Bag"
Featuring Cam'ron & Vado

Another mixtape that was in heavy rotation for me around this time was Cam'ron & Vado's "Boss Of All Bosses 2", also hosted by DJ Drama (I recommend you check that one out if you haven't done so). For some reason Vado's verse is not included on this version of the mixtape, but what we got with Fab and Cam was pretty good (an additional warning to the competition of course).
*3.5 out of 5*


12. "Beamer, Benz, or Bentley (Remix)"
Featuring Lloyd Banks and Juelz Santana

Let's be fair, respectively, this is Banks' song, and with that said, I was always cool with this "remix". I think many forget how dope Prime's beat was (and why this wasn't used for freestyles more often is beyond me), either way, this is tight just like the original version.
*4 out of 5*



13. "For The Money"
Featuring Nicki Minaj

Gucci Mane's "Lemonade" was used for this rather interesting collaboration with Ms. Minaj, who was just starting to make a name for herself, especially with her "Beam Me Up Scotty" mixtape making noise (check that out if you never heard it).
*3 out of 5*


14. "Tonight"
Featuring Red Cafe

This joint was strictly for the ladies and the clubs, nothing more or less. I'm not sure who the lady was at the end, but she certainly closed this well.
*3 out of 5*


16. "All The Way Turnt Up"
Featuring Trey Songz

Roscoe Dash's "All The Way Turnt Up" is the instrumental used here, and with the Trey Songz feature, this is another one meant for the ladies and the clubs.
*3 out of 5*


17. "Say Somethin' Nigga"

Timbaland & Drake's "Say Something" is the instrumental for this one, in which Fab works it quite well.
*3.5 out of 5*


18. "Funeral Service Music"
Featuring Kobe, Paul Cain, Red Cafe and Willie The Kid

Considering the title and the lineup (with Freck Billionaire notably missing), you already know what to expect. Smoothly dope stuff here.
*4 out of 5*



19. "Bring Death To Em"

One could make the case that either this, the previous song or the upcoming bonus track would've closed this mixtape in top form (which is the making of a pretty damn good mixtape if you ask me). Nevertheless, even though Drama comes with his "and like that, we gone" line, the competition meets their lyrical fate based on Fab's lines here.
*4 out of 5*



*20. "Exhibit F"

Over Jay Electronica's "Exhibit C" (remember that one), Fab works this instrumental pretty good like all of the instrumentals on this mixtape.
*4 out of 5*




This mixtape holds up exceptionally well five years after its release, and revisiting it now for this project, I can see why it was in heavy rotation for me at the time. There are SO many ill bars, punchlines, etc, throughout this mixtape it's not even funny, and to say that "part 2" of this TINC series is better than its predecessor is a slight understatement (you'll also notice Fab using the "hashtag flow" throughout). It certainly starts and ends with a bang, no question. Overall, Fab and all involved came with the dope goods here, one of the tightest mixtapes you'll ever hear.

"There Is No Competition 2 (The Funeral Service)" Download 


Bonus #4

Release date: August 31, 2010 


[Much props and credit to genius.com for this interesting fact about the EP. Not only was this the "official retail packaging" of the second installment of TINC with a few new songs, even though I'm not a fan, Drake actually predated Fab here and essentially started a trend with popular mixtapes being converted, if you will, into EPs for retail release, which is what took place with "So Far Gone" in 2009. Again, interesting.]




Since I've already reviewed "The Wake", "I'm Raw", "Body Ya" and "Tonight", I'm going to focus on the new songs.


"Body Count"
Produced by Sonaro

Another dope, punchline filled warning to the competition, need I say more?
*4 out of 5*



"Body Bag (Remix)"
Featuring Cam'ron & Vado
Produced by I.N.F.O. and Nova

Now this version does include Vado's closing verse, so it's the complete version unlike the one included on the TINC2 mixtape. Still tight.
*4 out of 5*



"You Be Killin' Em"
Produced by Ryan Leslie

As far as I'm concerned, this is the anthem for the ladies everywhere who feel they got it going on and then some (if looks could kill, man, lol). Also, this song, as well as "Make Me Better", are the two Fab songs that are still played on the radio to this day. 
*4 out of 5*



"Lights Out"
Produced by Lex Luger

In 2010, Lex Luger was one of the hottest producers in hip hop, so it was no surprise to hear Fab flow over one of Luger's signature beats. Fab did switch up his flow a bit, but not in a way that made this a tight song, respectively. It's decent.
*3 out of 5*



Well, this EP is just as good as the mixtape that spawned it, and the new songs certainly helped in that regard. It also enjoyed some respectable success on the Billboard charts in 2010 (#4 on "Top Rap Albums", #9 on "Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums" and #32 on the "Billboard 200"). Overall, a very good EP.



Bonus #5

Release date: April 21, 2011


THE GUESTS
Paul Cain
Lil Wayne
Broadway
Red Cafe
Vado
Lloyd Banks
Trey Songz
Freck Billionaire

THE PRODUCTION
Santana 
P-Thought
Bink!
Mike Dean
Teddy Da Don
StreetRunner
L&X Music
Cardiak
Drumma Boy
DR Period
Buckwild
DJ Swivel
J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League
Ryan Leslie
Sonaro



1. "Pain"
Although it sounds SLIGHTLY modified, Fab does quite well over the instrumental to the late 2Pac's classic of the same name. The nod/ode to Pac's song is always welcomed when done right.
*3.5 out of 5*



2. "Wolves In Sheep Clothing"

Fab and Paul Cain kick a good freestyle to Kanye's "Devil In A New Dress" instrumental. And check this out, the beat is so dope they let it ride out for about a minute or so.
*3.5 out of 5*


3. "Really Doe"

"One thing you should know, when you play the game/Lies always change, the truth stay the same"



Well, once you've heard a song like this, you've heard them all. Decent, nothing more or less.
*3 out of 5*


4. "That's Not Love"

"Say what’s on your heart if you’re real/Cause the scars you can’t see be the hardest to heal" -Fab


This apply titled, Lil Wayne assisted song is pretty good (with a nice throwback vibe too) and surprisingly Wayne didn't overstay his welcome here.
*4 out of 5*


5. "Leaving You"

"I kinda wonder if I cross ya mind/Maybe you my ex cause you crossed the line/Maybe you just never saw the crossing signs/Cause the hand up means don’t walk"


Sonaro comes with a "hip hop soul" style beat (nice too) as Fab talks about the breakup with a previous girlfriend, with some dope punchlines throughout as well.
*3.5 out of 5*


6. "In The Morning"

J Cole's instrumental of the same name provides Fab with a seductive sound. Fab talks his lady into "letting him in" before she goes to work, which ends up making her late in the process. This song is also interesting in that, 1) you get the vibe that Fab is rapping while making love, and 2) it leaves you wondering if this is the same girl he broke up with in the previous song. 
*3.5 out of 5*



7. "Drugs (Do This To Me)"

Genius.com put it best when describing this song, "detailing the complicated relationship between people and drugs, while having an underlying metaphor of human relationships". That about says it all right there.
*3.5 out of 5*


8. "Y'all Don't Hear Me Tho"

This Cardiak produced banger allows Fab to come through with serious punchlines and surefire confidence to match, along with a closing verse from Red Cafe.
*4 out of 5*



9. "Phone Numbers"

".....On you haters, I zone out/Y’all opinions don't make me money, so what y'all thinkin' don't count"


Fab calls out all haters over Wiz Khalifa's instrumental of the same name.
*3 out of 5* 


10. "Mo Brooklyn, Mo Harlem, Mo Southside"

Brooklyn, Harlem and Southside are represented to the fullest by Fab, Lloyd Banks and Vado on this dope remake of AZ and Nas' classic "Mo Money, Mo Murder, Homicide". Quite frankly, the best song on this mixtape.
*4 out of 5*



11. "Reisling & Rolling Papers"

A 2:56 freestyle over Game's "Like Father, Like Son".
*2.5 out of 5*


12. "Slow Down"

If there was a song where a Trey Songz feature was pretty evident, this was it and I'm sure the ladies would love this one too.
*2 out of 5*


13. "Payback Music"

Fab and Freck Billionaire come rugged and smooth over the lovely instrumental of Rick Ross' "Maybach Music III".
*3 out of 5*


*14. "Look At Her (You Be Killin' Em 2)"

This is the sequel to the original version of "You Be Killin' Em". It's about on equal footing with its predecessor, but I feel the ladies prefer that version over part 2.
*3 out of 5*



The first "Soul Tape" was a very good start to the series and its success, even in the form of a mixtape, warranted two sequels. The highlight here was definitely "Mo Brooklyn, Mo Harlem, Mo Southside". 

"The Soul Tape" Download 




Bonus #6
This would mark the final installment in the "There Is No Competition" series.
Release date: December 25, 2011


THE GUESTS
 Meek Mill
Trey Songz
Jadakiss
Styles P
Lloyd Banks
Red Cafe
Paul Cain

THE PRODUCTION
 I.N.F.O.
KB
Sonaro
Lil Lody
Drumma Boy
DJ Mustard
Jahlil Beats
GQ Beats
Mally The Martian
Just Blaze



1. "Intro"
The standard "TINC" beginning leads us right into.....

2. "Death Comes In 3's"

I can already say I might be overrating this one a bit, but this title track sets the right tone for this mixtape. Fab comes with this usual dope punchlines headed straight for the competition.
*4 out of 5*



3. "You Don't Know Bout It"

Over a dramatically (pun intended), thumping beat provided by KB, Fab and even guest Meek Mill bring the hard goods to the competition. 
*4 out of 5*



4. "Swag Champ"

"Came for the competition but there wasn't much around/I let you kiss the ring, but you’ll never touch the crown"


The bars above summarize this song in a nutshell. I've never been a fan of the term "swag", but Fab makes it work here, no question. He's the champ and he got the belt.
*4 out of 5*


5. "The Widows" (Skit)


6. "She Did It"

If you don't know what this song is about just by looking at the title, I don't know what to tell you, lol. One thing I can say about this one is that Lil Lody brings a nice beat to the table.
*3 out of 5*


7. "Spend It"

Again, you already know what this is about: that paper. Fab and Trey Songz come with their own version of 2 Chainz's "Spend It".
*3 out of 5*


8. "Black City"

Remember when Tyga's "Rack City", the instrumental used here, was a staple on the radio? Just like similar songs over the last few years hit the radio for a while and then they're never heard again, this was one of them, but that's another story, lol. Needless to say, Fab works this beat better than Tyga, which is not that hard to do overall.
*2 out of 5*


9. "Got That Work"

Fab does "put in work" with the ladies, laying the pipe so to speak, lol.
*2.5 out of 5*


10. "B.E.T."

"Gotta watch niggas, B.E.T
You gotta watch niggas, B.E.T
Friends at a distance, enemies close
Sometimes the ones you call friends be who envy the most"


The hook above accurately describes this joint, with LOX's Jadakiss and Styles P along for the ride, and it's quite good. The only flaw here is that Styles didn't drop a verse (he only came through with a few lines, and I stress "a few").
*4 out of 5*



11. "Get Down or Lay Down"

This appropriately titled, Lloyd Banks assisted song goes hard and then some. 
*4 out of 5*



12. "Unfuckwitable"

Another appropriately titled song, featuring Red Cafe. It's not as good as the previous song, but it makes its points. More on the Fab/Cafe duo later.
*3 out of 5*


13. "Death In The Family"

I'm sure it would "hurt to kill a nigga you love", family or not, and this right here is the basis for this Paul Cain featured song.
*3.5 out of 5*


14. "Dram's On Time" (Skit)


15. "Lord Knows"

In what would've been a fitting closer to this mixtape, this Just Blaze produced song is most notable for Fab's shots at Ray J and Plaxico Buress.
*4 out of 5*



*16. "Black Bird"

This bonus track finds Fab with another story about the lady on his arm, and now when I think about it, I feel that while he does have his own style in telling stories, it seems like his songs that depict a story being told always concludes without an ending, almost like he's intentionally leaving the song with a cliffhanger but never following up.
*3 out of 5*



Let's discuss the mixtape in general, the TINC series itself and then-announced plans with Red Cafe, starting with TINC3. The final installment was actually better than I remembered (I probably had a few things going on when I bumped this the day the download dropped) and it's a dope end to the series. Speaking of the TINC series, it's one of the dopest "mixtape series" that you'll find, with part 2 being the best, followed by the first and third, respectively. Will we get a 4th? Probably not, but I won't be surprised to see Fab link up with Drama again. And last but not least, I want to touch on this before we get to the 7th bonus, "The Soul Tape 2". In late 2012, I recall seeing on hiphopdx.com that there were plans for a collaboration album with Fab and Red Cafe, however, since that initial announcement, it was not mentioned again. I probably was the only person I knew who was looking forward to this project, even if it turned out to be another mixtape. Is it too late? Possibly.

"There Is No Competition 3 (Death Comes In 3s)" Download 





Release date: November 22, 2015


THE GUESTS
 Broadway
J. Cole
Pusha T
Troy Ave
Trey Songz
Cassie
Wale
Joe Budden
Teyana Taylor

THE PRODUCTION
 StreetRunner
Teddy Da Don
C-Sick
Mally The Martian
J. Cole
The Arsenals
Sarah J
John Scino
Cardiak
AraabMuzik
Sonaro


1. "Transformation"

On this very good opener, complete with opening words from Biggie, Fab talks about nothing but change over Jay Electronica's "Exhibit A" instrumental. Good way to start "The Soul Tape 2".
*4 out of 5*



2. "For The Love"

Welcome (back) to the Fabolous life, no question. With ill punchlines (no hook), a tight StreetRunner production, with an equally tight sample courtesy of Bessie Banks' "Try To Leave Me If You Can (I Bet You Can't Do It)", this one is a winner.
*4 out of 5*

  

3. "B.I.T.E."

More words from Biggie starts this one, along with an RIP line from Fab is a nice touch. "B.I.T.E." stands for "bitch I'm tryin to eat" and that's what Fab is trying to do, "every single day, each and every night".
*4 out of 5*


4. "We Get High"

Smokers and non-smokers alike should love the smooth, soulfulness of this Michael Franks sampled song ("St. Elmo's Fire"). Good stuff here.
*4 out of 5*


5. "Diamonds"

This was less of a take on Rihanna's hit song of the same name and more about Fab shining like a diamond "when in the right light". Another good song.
*4 out of 5*



6. "Guess Who's Bizzack"

Man, Fab continuously have issues with the ladies don't he, lol? He talks about falling out with a lady, mainly due to the changes she's making and him not being so receptive to those changes. Also notable is Mally The Martian's incredible sample of Scarface's "Guess Who's Back", adding such a dramatic twist that can't go unnoticed.
*4 out of 5*



7. "Louis Vuitton"

Fab and J. Cole talk extensively about golddiggers (mostly women in this case) and their obsessive desires for the, uh, finer things in life, hence the title of the song.
*4 out of 5*


8. "Life Is So Exciting"

Nothing new or fresh here, even down to the Pusha T feature. It's decent, nothing more quite frankly.
*3 out of 5*


9. "Only Life I Know"

If you don't know by now, three of many things Fab loves more than anything else in this life: his money, the women in his life, and the hustle. This comes across clearly in this apply titled song.
*3 out of 5*

10. "Diced Pineapples"

Fab, Trey Songz and Cassie come with their version of Rick Ross' song of the same name. It's about what you would expect. And man, did Trey take control of this song in the closing verse or what?
*3 out of 5*


11. "Beauty"

Much like the previous song, the ladies should love this one, no doubt about it and guest Wale was right at home here. Much props to AraabMuzik behind the boards and his nice sample of Submotion Orchestra's "Perfection".
*3 out of 5*


12. "Want You Back"

This Joe Budden & Teyana Taylor assisted closer is (again) about what you would expect on a song like this, another one for the ladies for sure.
*3 out of 5*



Although this mixtape mellows down a bit towards the second half, overall I'd have to give it the nod over the first "Soul Tape". And even with those brief words, we head to "Soul Tape 3", the 8th bonus of this project.

"The Soul Tape 2" Download 





Release date: December 25, 2013


THE GUESTS
Stacy Barthe
Meek Mill
Mike Davis
Jadakiss
Young Jeezy
Jeremih
Ryan Leslie
Mack Wilds
Tiara Thomas

THE PRODUCTION
 Mark Henry
Sonaro
The Superiors
CT Beats
AraabMuzik
Vinylz
Bo-1-da
StreetFam Turtle
LC
illmind


1. "Everything Was The Same"

"I'm old enough to know better, young enough to not give a fuck/Rather hold my head high and die, than live and duck"


Fab notably starts the verse with the bars above, (over Drake's "Paris Morton Music 2"), much like the openings on the first two Soul Tapes, and as genius.com put it, this does suggest that not much has changed in life from the initial "Pain" (ST1) to "Transformation" (ST2), then coming to the conclusion that everything remains the same. 
*3 out of 5*


2. "Sacrifices"

"Seeing your family scrambling, that's sanity damaging/Gotta, make a move can't just stand and be mannequin"


The bars above paint the verbal picture of this song so well. In life, we all have to make sacrifices, especially as adults, and it goes a little further than simply "doing what you gotta do". Probably the deepest song on this mixtape.
*4 out of 5*



3. "Playa"

When living the life in any form, play the game the best way you know how.
*2.5 out of 5*


4. "The Get Back"

Oh man, this is such a great song and the obvious influence from Jay-Z's classic "Dead Presidents II" ensures this one is a winner, even down to the Superior's brilliant sampling of that song with such a soulful sound. I think this one must be heard to be fully appreciated.
*4 out of 5*



5. "Foreigners"

While this song had a dope beat provided by CT Beats and the nod to Fat Joe's "My Lifestyle" (in the hook) was appreciated, I didn't care for Fab sort of dumbing down his flow to something you may have heard of the radio circa 2013 and even now, Meek's verse was what about you would expect from him and incorporating the autotune didn't help either.
*2.5 out of 5*


6. "The Hope"

No hook was needed for Fab and Jada to go in over a dope AraabMuzik production. That 2:52 breezed right on by (lol). And I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but this beat sounded SO familiar, like I've heard it somewhere else.
*4 out of 5*



7. "You Know"

Jeezy links up with Fab for a smooth blend of East and South styles.
*3 out of 5*


8. "Cuffin Season"

Sonaro's beat was good, but this one came off as slightly being all over the place. Not wack, not dope, but somewhere in the middle I guess.
*2 out of 5*


9. "Thim Slick"

Fab and Jeremih show mad love to all the ladies who are slim in the waist and thick "everywhere else". They know who they are, lol!
*3 out of 5*


10. "Lay Down"

Appropriately titled? Well, that's for the ladies to decide on this one, lol. At this point in the project, if you don't know what this song is about and who it's catering to, well, you know the rest, lol..
*3 out of 5*


11. "Situationships"

This is ANOTHER song for the ladies, but Fab talks mostly about being in an unhealthy relationship. Based on his (and her) actions, he might've well be single, all things considered.
*3 out of 5*


*12. "Young OG"

Even for a mixtape, "Situationships" would've been a hell of an anti-climatic way to close things, so it was only right for this bonus, a prelude to the next album if you ask me, to be sequenced here. You see, Fab's reasoning for saying he's a "young OG" can be interpreted in many ways, whether he means he's still a "young man with an old soul" while still evolving and learning things along the way. 
*3.5 out of 5*




"Soul Tape 3" was slightly on the level of part 2, nothing more or less. Throughout this series, Fab basically took what worked and brought his usual, and some, if not most, of the time there's nothing wrong with that. As of this posting, plans for a "Soul Tape 4" have not been announced and I believe Fab did say in an interview that there would not be a 4th installment of the "Soul Tape". Overall, I'd say the 2nd tape was the best, followed by the third then the first.

"The Soul Tape 3" Download 










Although I've always been a fan of Fabolous and still am, this album was the least interested I've ever been in any of his albums, mainly due to the list of guest. This will actually be my first time listening to this album since its December 25, 2014 release. Fab has this album would be "very 90s inspired and 90s themed", which is ALWAYS good news to me. Will that be the case with this album? We shall see. 


THE GUESTS

Rich Homie Quan
Tish Hyman
Chris Brown
French Montana
Velous
Kevin Hart
Abir Haronni

THE PRODUCTION
Mally The Martian
Phonix Beats
The Superiors
Detrackz
Chase N Cashe
Count Justice
The Mechanics
OZ
Vinylz
Bo-1-da
C-Sick
DJ RellyRell
Mark Henry


1. "Lituation"

Fab did an interview with Power 105.1 The Breakfast Club and he described the meaning of "lituation" and the song itself:


"It means a lit situation. You got to a party and it’s a situation, and you start throwing ones and it becomes a lituation."


He also described this one as "something for the streets" and based on the thumping beat provided by Mally The Martian, it does have an edge to it. Decent opener.
*3.5 out of 5*

2. "We Good"

Honestly, there are two strikes against this song right off the bat: 1) I shook my head when listening to Fab adopt guest Rich Homie Quan's flow for this two verses, nothing memorable and 2) Speaking of Rich Homie Quan, I'm not a fan so his involvement halted any enjoyment of this song. Genius.com stated this song is an "overload of swag", and for better or worse that may be true.

*2 out of 5*


3. "All Good"

Well, this was 10 times better than "We Good" that's for sure. I liked how Fab used the word "good" throughout the song, as well as the continued use of Biggie audio clips to introduce certain songs (a true nice touch).

*3.5 out of 5*


4. "You Made Me"

A sure sign of growth is how certain life experiences shape you and make you the man/woman you are today, and I can testify to that.

*3 out of 5*


5. "She Wildin"

You know, I never thought I'd see the day when "Oochie Wally" would be sampled (the worst thing my favorite MC of all time Nas has ever been a part of), but then again I'm not surprised. Like I've said often during this project, this one is clearly aimed for the ladies, from the production to the lyrics to the Chris Brown led hook.

*2 out of 5*


6. "Ball Drop"

New year, new money, points well taken. Guest French Montana is another, uh, artist I'm not a fan so his contribution to this was still not impressive to say the least. In fact, this song sounded more like a Montana song than a Fab one. Let's move on.

*2 out of 5*


7. "Bish Bounce"

I'm not sure what Fab was going for here, but it adds up to another unfortunate forgettable song. I can't imagine anyone bouncing to this.

*1.5 out of 5*


8. "Rap & Sex"

Outside of giving props to Fab for the nod to Jay-Z's "Nigga What, Nigga Who (Originator '99)" and recognizing how well he flowed to C-Sick's beat, this really sounded like a Future song more than anything else (someone I'm also not a fan of) and I'm surprised he wasn't featured on this. The ending of this song leaves a lot to be desired too.

*2 out of 5*


9. "Gone For The Winter"

"These cats ain't real, just found out they leopard print/Cause they always talk shit then ask you for peppermints"


With clear inspiration from Nas' classic "Represent", this was pretty good and it's vintage Fab all the way through. This song would've been a surefire "4 out of 5", but the "chopped & screwed" parts affect the rating, as it certainly wasn't needed.

*3.5 out of 5*



10. "Cinnamon Apple"


Fab talks about his first heartbreak with Tia Williams, 7th grade era, something most of us can relate to during our middle and high school years.

*3 out of 5*


11. "Young OG II"


Fab revisits elements from the first "Young OG" and includes a heart warming tribute to his son Johan in the second (closing) verse. Best song on this album, no doubt. I expect this to be continued on the next "Young OG Project" album.
*4 out of 5*





Ok, even with a few good songs on this album, this is perhaps the most disappointing album I've heard from Fab, an unfortunate step down for his previous albums (even his mixtapes). Also, I disagree that this album has a "90s theme/inspiration". More often than not, when that's the case, I pick up that vibe immediately and outside of a few nods to some classic material from Nas, Jay-Z, Biggie, etc, TYOGP is about as far from a "90s themed album" as you can get, and it's basically more in line with what most mainstream hip hop sounded like as 2014 closed and STILL sounds like today. I'm going to go with a very generous 3 star rating for this album and hopefully "The Young OG Project 2", which is slated for a release around Valentine's Day 2016, will be better than its predecessor.









I am aware that Fab dropped a "Friday Night Freestyles" mixtape with DJ Clue, but I decided to not included that in preparation for the next mixtape, the 9th bonus, "Summertime Shootout" (released on 11/26/2015), to close the project. 



"It's a mixtape about a summertime story", says Fab.




THE GUESTS

 Jazzy

Nicki Minaj

Trey Songz

The Weeknd

Bryson Tiller

Rich Homie Quan

Mike Davis

Josh K

Daphne Larue

Dave East

THE PRODUCTION

 Sonaro

Automatik

Cardiak

Critical

Mark Henry

Amadeus Keyz Kae Em

AraabMuzik

King James Beatz 
Land Keyz
Jre Day



1. "For The Summer"

Women, gunplay, gettin money, having mad drinks, partying, etc, etc, it all goes down in a summer according to Fab, accompanied by a dope Sonaro production.

*4 out of 5*





2. "Real One"


Major props here to Automatik's nice sampling of the Fugees' classic "Killin' Em Softly", as well as Fab's nod to Lauryn's "Lost Ones". All in all, this is vintage Fab on this apply titled song.

*4 out of 5*





3. "Doin It Well"



"Heading to engagements, head behind the Range tints/Fruits of my labor, edible arrangements" -Fab



I had to highlight Fab's line above. This 2015 take on LL Cool J's "Doin' It" is decent and with the Trey Songz and Nicki Minaj features, respectively, the fellas and ladies should equally like this one, especially the latter when it comes to Nicki's verse.

*3 out of 5*


4. "Tell Ya Friends"


Fab smoothly works The Weeknd's (also featured on this) "Tell Your Friends" to equally smooth results. Although this is aimed at the ladies, I think the fellas would like and appreciate this one also.

*4 out of 5*



5. "Sorry Not Sorry"


Bryson Tiller's song of the same name was the inspiration here. With or without Fab, I could've done without this one. Let's continue on.

*2 out of 5*


6. "Motivation"


Money is the #1 motivator for most people in this world and it was definitely the key focus in this song.

*2 out of 5*



7. "Vanilla"


Smh+facepalm, Rich Homie Quan rears his vocals on another Fab project and again, it's not impressive to me at all. I honestly don't like it when Fab and any other artist I've been supporting for a long time switch up their flow(s) to sound like a less superior artist that's appearing alongside them. Save this mess for RHQ. (Sigh) Let's keep it moving.

*1 out of 5*


8. "The Plug"


The Netflix based "Narcos" was the motivation for this one, but you wouldn't be able to tell with Fab incorporating the autotuned flow for the majority of the song and essentially trading in his trademark flow to sound like this new wave of "artists" today. What could've been a dope song is forgettable.

*1.5 out of 5*



9. "Trap Royalty"


Apparently the ladies are embracing the "trap" theme/sound in more ways than one nowadays? Well, be that as it may, this song may go a long way in achieving such goal. Fab's ill lines here saves this one.

*2 out of 5*


10. "Trapline Bling"


Ok, did Fab fully convert to more of a trap sound and I missed it? I mean at this point in the mixtape, I get it already. This one finds him and Josh K remaking Drake's "Hotline Bling", and since when did the term "bling" re-enter the hip hop vocabulary? Nothing more to say about this one.

*1.5 out of 5*



11. "Started Something"


Now this is more like it. In keeping with the summer story, Fab's lady says "she was violated" by some guys, and now Fab is on the hunt for those responsible. Interestingly enough, there does seem to be a conclusion to this part of the story (can't say that about most of the stories Fab tells on record), plus mad points to Sonaro and his reworking of DMX's "Niggaz Done Started Something".

*3.5 out of 5*





12. "Summertime Sadness"



This good closer, suggesting a sad end to Fab's summer, would also suggest a sequel in some form (don't be surprised if we receive "Summertime Shootout 2" in November 2016). Lana Del Rey's "Summertime Sadness" was utilized quite well here.

*3.5 out of 5*




Man, I was a little hard on this mixtape wasn't I, lol? I mean, it's good in spots, but overall it could've been better considering what Fab is capable of. Even for a mixtape, he could've took the "story ball" and ran with it to effective results, but in the end it sounds like just another mixtape to me.


And with ALL this being said, we have come to the end of the "Supreme Fabolous Project", which took a lot of work to put together, but it was worth it. 2016 will mark Fab being in the game for 18 years (and counting) and I feel he's not done yet. Although I'm not a fan of him seemingly changing his style up at the moment, I'm still anticipating his next moves. I hope part 2 of the "Young OG Project" will be a step up from part 1, and I hope "Loso's Way 2: Rise To Power" will see the light of day at some point and not be turned into a mixtape. Speaking of which, "Loso's Way" is my favorite Fab album and as mentioned I feel that's his best album to date. "There Is No Competition 2" (his best mixtape) and "Soul Tape 2" are the best in their series, respectively, and without a doubt, my favorite Fab song remains "Breathe". Overall, mad props and respect to Fab for all of his accomplishments in hip hop since '98, much more success to him in the future and if you're reading this Fab, THANK YOU!!!!!! 

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