That was the sound blaring from street corners all across America the past year. 2001 was indeed a memorable year for Fabolous. Fab emerged onto the rap scene through the connections of DJ Clue, and has quickly become one of the brightest young stars in the game today. Having appeared on numerous tracks and freestyle, Fab gained a reputation as one of the wittiest Emcees to come along. But it was Fab's performance on Lil Mo's mega hit "Superwomen" that propelled him into superstar status. Soon after, you couldn't escape the sounds of Fabolous. His joints were blowing up all across America and they hype quickly grew for his debut album "Ghetto Fabolous". But unfortunately, Fabolous falls completely short of all expectations.
"Ghetto Fabolous" isn't the debut many of his fans were expecting. The album's main problem not only lies in Fab's lyrical ability but also with the production. The first thing you notice about Fabolous is his tight flow, but beyond that Fabolous brings nothing new and innovative to the game. Lyrically he can be witty at times, but mostly ends up spitting the same repetitive tales of women, ice and cars. Fab mostly relies on metaphors and punch lines throughout his songs, the problem is, most of the time they aren't any good. It seems almost at times, Fabolous is forcing the issue, trying too hard to put out witty lines. "Ghetto Fabolous" is unfortunately filled with shallow lyricism that offers no depth and consistency. One minute Fab might spit a few hot bars here and there, only to fall short a few moments later. Consistency is definitely a big problem throughout the album. Besides his lyricism, the production is truly horrible throughout the album. Even though the album is filled with big named produces like Timbaland, Rockwilder, and The Neptunes, only a few tracks offer a memorable experience.
The horrendously produced "Click and Spark" features Fab spitting his usual hit and miss lyricism over a horribly put together beat. "We Don't Give A" and the timbaland produced "Right Now & Later On" are both club joints, but don't offer anything we haven' heard before. Tracks like "Ride For This" featuring Ja Rule, "Take You Home" featuring Lil Mo, and "Trade It All" featuring Jagged Edge, are all blatant attempts for commercial success but fall flat right from the start. "Ghetto Fabolous" is a prime example of an album manufactured to gain commercial success. The album is filled with the usual blueprints for success. A couple of hard-core tracks, club joints, songs for each coast, and of course a deep, emotional track.
The two worst tracks on the album are "Get Smart" and "Ma' Be Easy". Saying these are two of the worst songs to come out in recent memory is an understatement. "Get Smart" not only comes off as unorthodox, but its entire concept (getting head) is blatantly corny. Surprisingly, the production holds its own, but its Fab who doesn't live up to expectations this time spitting lines like, "That's why I'm the smartest young man since Doogie Howser". The track's utterly unbearable hook doesn't help Fab's either. "I just really wanna get smart, until I feel like a genius. And all that I ask is, that you help me get good grades in all of my classes". Its lines like these that make you wonder what Fabolous was thinking when composing the album.
However, "Ghetto Fabolous" does offer a couple of banging tracks, such as "Keepin' It Gangsta", "Gotta Be Thug" and the smash hit "Can't Deny It" featuring Nate Dogg. But it's his performance on the deep, emotional "One Day" that truly stands out. Instead of his usual antics, Fabolous spits a tale of his life struggles that ends up as the albums highlight. "My mama used to tell me, son your gonna make it, one day it will happen. Who knew I'd have what it takes to be famous, and one day I'd be rapping".
While Fabolous is good for spitting a couple of hot lines and guest appearances here and there, his performance on "Ghetto Fabolous" is evidence that he needs a lot of improvement if he intends to be the next big thing like everyone proclaims. While Fabolous should have no problem selling units due to his crossover ability, he still has to prove to the Hip-Hop world that he can put out a consistent album from beginning to end. If not, Fabolous will end up as another rapper in the long list of Emcees with potential, but couldn't capitalize and succeed.