Ghetto Fabolous, Fabolous Desert Storm Recordings/Elektra

Paul Wong
Courtesy of CBS

With his debut album Ghetto Fabolous, Fabolous joins this year”s freshman class of MCs who prove that dope rhymes and creativity are nothing compared to big-name production and powerful marketing. DJ Clue and Duro together handle half of production duties, the other half is divvied up amongst other well-known producers, including Rockwilder, Timbaland and Rick Rock. The album includes several cameos from noteworthy artists as well. Having signed onto DJ Clue”s Desert Storm label, Fabolous has the benefit of instant access to record stores, radio and MTV, without first having to prove his musical talent. The long list of names that follow Fabolous in the credits simply aid in transferring instant credibility to an MC who, months ago, was essentially unknown.

Though most of the tracks carry a good bounce, his producers fail to create anything beyond the standard series of base heavy beats, played-out guitar samples and electronic tones. Fabolous” mellow, laid-back tone, comparable to Mase”s, is quite enjoyable. But despite his vocal stylings, he cannot think up an original rhyme to save this album.

His topics go in circles, from his guns, to his cars, to his ho”s, back to his guns. He occasionally breaks from these trite themes with tracks like “One Day,” on which he looks at the American Dream through the eyes of a young, aspiring MC. The song possesses a sad irony in that lines like, “Who knew/I”d have what it takes to be famous/and one day I”d be rappin”” remind us that Fabolous has only succeeded because his record company can afford to keep his dead music on life support.

Examined closely, Fabolous appears to love music solely as a means for bragging to a mass audience. On “Young”n,” he claims that, though the haters critique him, he has “got them looking at the billboard charts all confused.” He certainly does for all of us.

Grade: C-

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