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
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
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!
1. Exodus (Performed by Black Ice)
2. Don't Stop Won't Stop
3. Real Talk (123)
5. Tit 4 Tat (Featuring Pharrell)
6. Baby (Featuring Mike Shorey)
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)
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)