If there is one man who doesn't get the credit he deserves for his contributions to the Hip Hop industry it is Erick Sermon. E-Dub literally helped transform the role of the producer while at the same time setting the trend for all others to follow in his footsteps. And while others have taken what he has done and built upon it, it is Erick Sermon's production that has helped shape the style of almost every producer in the game. It seems as if with today's generation of listeners, Erick Sermon and EPMD has fallen up on deaf ears, not getting the credit they deserve. Nevertheless, E-Dub continues to put out what seems like a new album every year, every time trying to capitalize off of his big hit at the moment. Last year Erick's big hit was "Music", which was also the name of his disappointing album. This year Erick's big hit is the Just Blaze produced "React", and yes once again it's the name of his newest release. While E-Dub is clearly trying to ride one big hit into a successful album, doing such a thing is pretty much impossible. However, Erick does a better job putting forth a solid album front to back than last year's disappointment, as "React" ends up as solid album.
While "React" is a solid release for E-Dub that features a lot of nice hits, the album does end up predictable. The biggest disappointment with "React" is Erick's continued production slump that has been going on for the past couple of years. Simply put, his production is getting quite boring and generic, following the same simple patterns every time. It has been quite a long time since the Hip Hop industry has gotten excited over and E-Dub produced track, and that is evident throughout his newest release.
Most of "React" is your typical Erick Sermon album; club bangers mixed up with various guest appearances, with a couple hard-core tracks thrown in. This predictable line up has shown up on the last couple Erick Sermon albums and has unfortunately brought all of them down. "We Don't Care", "To Tha Girlz" and "Party Right" are your typical club efforts from Erick, consisting of catchy production and simplistic lyricism. Also in the same light are "Hold Up Dub" featuring Keith Murray and "Here I Iz". While not bad, after a couple listens they will surly loose your attention. "Hip Hop Radio" and "Don't Give Up" are two of the most unique experiences on the album conceptually, now if only the production side could have met up somewhere to compromise.
For most, "React" will be hit or miss, as many will appreciate the more radio friendly sounds featured on the album, while others will be disappointed it doesn't mirror the EPMD sounds of the past. Some of the finer songs featured on the album are the MC Lyte & Rah Digga collabo on "Tell Me'. Its great to see the legendary MC Lyte back in the fold after all these years and see hasn't lost a step. Of course the hit single "React" is blazing radios, clubs and car speakers all across America as we speak. The track capitalizes off of Truth Hurt's "Addictive" with the Indian sample in the hook. Redman also shows up for the track delivering his usual antics full of gross humor and over the top lyricism.
Two of the better experiences on "React" are the grimy sounds of "S.O.D." and the soulful melody of "Love Iz". "S.O.D." features one of the finest production efforts from E-Dub while he lets some of the better up and coming emcees shine. Icarus, Red Café & Sy Scott all blaze the mic with their efforts, not wasting the great production. Following in the footsteps of "Music", "Love Iz" features another legend, this time Al Green. It looks like Erick has found a little niche for making hits; hopefully he won't over do himself after awhile.
In the end "React" is a good pick up for Erick Sermon fans, just don't expect anything mind blowing or monumental. It's your typical album from E-Dub these days, no more or less. While it has its moments, you can help but feel Erick is capable of doing better. Maybe Erick should take his time on the next album and make sure the final product is something worthwhile. If not fans will get tired of E-Dub quickly, especially if he continues releasing albums of this caliber every year.