The soul tape - fabolous“Consistency is key” – it’s a phrase oft-repeated, ad nausea, by our friends, followers, peers, haters, suckas, and others on Twitter. Everyone works hard, everyone is up till 8 in the morning “in the stu”, and everyone knows that consistency is key. But for Twitter’s reining (but seemingly on hiatus) hip-hop king, @myfabolouslife, consistency really is key, and it’s kept him relevant – for ten years.

As we gear up promo for The Soul Tape, we forget that Fabolous is coming off one of his biggest years ever, as ‘Body Ya’ had the summer of ’10 on lock, while a slew of murderous guest appearances kept the streets happy (“I’m Ill”, “Where They Do That At”). But it wasn’t till last fall that the kid had one of the biggest hits of his career…a record that STILL, in May, heading into June, gets crazy radio play. Whether Atlanta or New York, you’d be hard pressed to go 15 minutes without hearing “You Be Killin’ ‘Em”. An ol school New York breakbeat, no frills, just hip-hop music, and it’s one of the biggest radio records of the year. And as this record seems to finally near the end of its run, Fab comes with The Soul Tape, hoping to reach the incredible success of its mixtape predecessor, There is no Competition 2: Funeral Music.

A strong concept last explored by Blueprint-era Jay-Z, the sped-up soul samples that make up the foundation of this tape offer Fab the opportunity to put a rest to all the critics that say he doesn’t get ‘deep enough’ on his records; that his music is all style, no substance. Provided this backdrop, Los shows his versatility, as he did two years ago on the “Throw It In the Bag (Remix)”, which featured a similarly-speedy soul sample. One on record, he argues the lure of rap versus his responsibilities raising his three-year old.

Standout tracks include: “Y’all Don’t Hear Me”, a lyrical back-n-forth with Red Café; “Wolves in Sheeps Clothing”, a Kanye beat reminiscent of the Roc-A-Fella era; and crowd favorite, “Mo’ Brooklyn, Mo’ Harlem, Mo’ Southside”, featuring Vado and Lloyd Banks. “Slow Down”, with Trey Songz, is a smooth laid back joint, which would fit perfectly in a playlist with Jay-Z’s “Party Life” and Puffy’s “Senorita”. The usual cast of characters of Red Café, Paul Cain, Kobe, and recently freed Freck Billionaire all make appearances.

Lyrically, he’s much the same, but after the success of the aforementioned TinC2, he’s set an unbelievably high standard. From witty one-liners, (“Like Shaq at the line, you probably missed the point”), momentary glimpses into a rapper’s though process (“I write my best shit on my worst days”), and girl language (“I speak body language, fuck pillow talk”), the lyrics are on point. Through and through, it’s an enjoyable listen, and it’ll hold you over till that proposed album with Ne-Yo drops. That or Loso’s Way 2 – whichever come first.

 

Nisarg Lives

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