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The Goodlife Album, Various Artists Fubu Records/Universal

BY DAVID J. KERASTAS
For the Daily
Published October 8, 2001

Since Run D.M.C. first began rhyming about their sneakers, hip-hop and fashion have become closer and closer intertwined. And on The Goodlife Album, the first release from Fubu Records, the two have become nearly indistinguishable. Ready to make its mark on the music industry, Fubu has immediately made use of its relations to various hip-hop and R&B artists to assemble an impressive list of names for this compilation. Some singles come from the label"s new sign-ons, all with debut albums soon to come, and others from more established artists with ties to the clothing brand.

Goodlife features some new combinations of MCs. "Goodlife," the album"s title track and biggest single unites Nas, the ubiquitous Nate Dogg and JS from the 54th Platoon. LL Cool J joins Ludacris, and Keith Murray on "Fatty Girl," one of the album"s more, to say the most, interesting songs. Other tracks that stand out are "Set it Off" by Dawn Robinson, and "50 Ni**** Deep," on which Drunken Master and Lola Damone get more out of the words "Bitch" and "Nigga" than was once thought humanly possible. The central theme for each song is the particular artist"s vision of the "good life."

Though the tracks contain the necessary bounceability to earn significant playtime in the clubs and on radio stations, they should have very little effect on the memories of any real hip-hop heads. Each artist"s interpretation of the "good life" is only a slightly different version of playa-dom, illustrated with unbelievable tales of extravagance and hedonism that would even make Fubu"s CEO Carl Brown laugh. Some of the verses sound so sloppily pieced together that one must assume that these artists were hoping that the music videos would clarify their intent. The only thing that seems to unite these songs is their composers" love for their lucrative Fubu deals. Fubu"s executives have exacerbated that which has been pop music"s main flaw: The combination of music and fashion. The two always tend to inhibit each other. Consequently we have an album heavy on one and very light on the other.

Grade: C


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