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Flo Rida - R.O.O.T.S (Routes of Overcoming The Struggle)

Flo Rida, Roots

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

FLO Rida is one of the hottest names in hip hop at the moment following the global chart-topping success of hits such as Low and the recent Dead Or Alive sampling Right Round.

His new album, R.O.O.T.S – aka Routes of Overcoming The Struggle only looks set to widen that appeal. It’s very, very generic, contains the usual quota of big-name guest appearances, and switches between radio-friendly and slightly more hard-hitting with casual abandon.

And yet while it isn’t really doing anything new, it’s not doing anything really, really bad either. The lyrics are less offensive than a lot of mainstream hip-hop artists, the collaborations work well and embellish some of the tracks, and there’s a likeability to a lot of the songs that’s often quite hard to find.

Ironically, Right Round is one of the worst cuts on it – a derivative Dead Or Alive sampler that proves no rap artist uses samples better than Kanye at the moment.

But don’t let that dissuade you… for there’s still some cool cuts to admire.

Jump, his collaboration with Nelly Furtado, is an early pick… using the vocal trade-off between Flo and Nelly’s contrasting styles to smooth effect and dropping a sweaty, urgent dancefloor filler that wouldn’t sound out of place on either star’s album. It has future single written all over it.

Gotta Get It (Dancer) drops synth-heavy, vocoder-laced vocals and a cheesy electro-pop beat, but somehow works… embracing its cheesier elements to provide yet another easy dancefloor friendly workout.

And title track R.O.O.T.S mixes a nice flow from Flo with a smooth synth bed and some snappy beats. The chorus is pretty damn useful too.

Ne-Yo stamps his smooth Las Vegas style over Be On You, one of the sexier numbers, while Mind On My Money is an easy smooth groove-style Kiss FM crowd-pleaser.

Akon’s distinct vocals combine well with Flo’s on Available, an ode to the single man that’s as confidently delivered as you’d expect from a hip hop man in his prime, and Wyclef Jean brings his usual sense of style to album closer Rewind, another easy radio-friendly favourite.

There are crass moments, of course. Shone, featuring Pleasure P, is a turn-off, while cuts like Never are woefully bland and generic. Tracks like Touch Me and Sugar are just too cheesy to be deemed cool.

But while Flo Rida will never blow you away with anything approaching genre re-defining originality, he knows his market and bosses it well. R.O.O.T.S is no classic and it will probably do loads better than it deserves to… but for once it’s not a bad listen either.

Download picks: Jump, Gotta Get It (Dancer), R.O.O.T.S, Rewind, Sugar

Track listing:

  1. Finally Here
  2. Jump – Flo Rida & Nelly Furtado
  3. Gotta Get It (Dancer)
  4. Shone – Flo Rida & Pleasure P
  5. Right Round – Flo Rida & Ke£ha
  6. ROOTS
  7. Be On You – Flo Rida & Ne-Yo
  8. Mind On My Money
  9. Available – Flo Rida & Akon
  10. Touch Me
  11. Never
  12. Sugar – Flo Rida & Wynter
  13. Rewind – Flo Rida & Wyclef Jean