A/V Room









Fabolous - Real Talk

Review: Jack Foley

WITH a name like Fabolous, you'd expect Real Talk to boast great things. And, to a certain degree, you'd be right.

Fab certainly hangs in all the right circles, given that his fourth album (if you count his official mix-tape) has been produced by the likes of The Neptunes, Just Blaze and Scott Storch, and includes guest appearances from Pharrell, Nate Dogg, Sean Paul and Lil Mo, to name but a few.

What's more, the native New Yorker, who hails from Brooklyn, has also been picked up by the likes of Tim Westwood and Jo Whiley, on Radio 1, and by the evening crews on 1Xtra and Kiss FM.

Yet in spite of the quality of some of the collaborators, the album doesn't impress as much as it might.

Perhaps it's because it sounds too much like many of the other urban artists riding high at the moment, but you can't help feeling that you've already heard a lot of it before.

Don't Stop, Won't Stop, for instance, could easily double as a 50 Cent track, while the attitude-laden title track, subtitled (123), is fairly generic for this sort of thing, complete with thumping beats and grinding bassline keyboards.

Even the lyrics possess that 'heard them all before' quality, as Fab explores the tougher side of his upbringing and the things which influenced him, such as a friend who fell victim to the streets on the track, Can You Hear Me.

Gangsta, too, takes a trip through familiar territory, talking about life on the streets, and how 'it takes a gangsta to know a gangsta'.

Pharrell lends some sophistication to the tracks Tit 4 Tat and Young and Sexy, but even they lack anything really stand-out, as though the N*E*R*D-man was content to merely lend his smooth grooves to another emerging hip-hop star.

While the smooth groove style of tracks such as Baby (featuring Mike Shorey) actually sounds more like a N*E*R*D rip-off than anything else.

The album does find its feet when it adopts a lighter attitude, such as during the catchy Girls, or the soulful Holla At Somebody Real, which features a refreshing female vocal from Lil Mo.

Current single, Breathe, is also a suitably upbeat lead track for the album, featuring the sort of dramatic rock stadium opus and cascading percussion that Fab is making a name for himself for producing.

Sadly, such highlights are few and far between, and the rest of the album seems content to play to conformity.

Real Talk isn't so much a bad effort, rather one that doesn't bring anything new to the genre.

Given the talent Fabolous has assembled to get it made, we had every right to expect a little more.

And that renders it not so Fab!




Track listing:
1. Exodus (Performed by Black Ice)
2. Don't Stop Won't Stop
3. Real Talk (123)
4. Gangsta
5. Tit 4 Tat (Featuring Pharrell)
6. Baby (Featuring Mike Shorey)
7. Girls
8. Church (Featuring Charlie Murphy)
9. Can You Hear Me
10. Do The Damn Thing (Feat. Young Jeezy)
11. Holla At Somebody Real (Feat. Lil Mo)
12. It's Alright (Featuring Sean Paul)
13. Breathe
14. Young and Sexy (Ft. Pharrell & Mike Shorey)
15. Round & Round
16. In My Hood
17. It's Ghetto (featuring Thara)
18. Po Po (featuring Paul Cain & Nate Dogg)

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