Tuesday, November 10, 2009

8Ball Volumes 1 & 2

Anyone heard either/both of these albums yet? I have. They kinda suck I'm sorry to say. And I would consider myself a fan of 8Ball. I was hoping for much more. When I was growing up 8Ball & MJG were one of my favorite duos. They put Memphis on the map and paved the way for countless talented MCs (and even more untalented ones) out of the southern states. I grew up listening to these guys the same as I did artists like Scarface, 2Pac, EPMD, Spice 1, UGK, A Tribe Called Quest, and countless others. But, after listening to these two volumes of work I think I just may stop bothering to pay attention.

Volume 1 On The Grind begins disappointingly and never really gets any better. Throwaway songs about strippers and candy-painted cars and annoying skits with nothing but random phone messages. Seriously? Have people not yet figured out that no one wants to listen to an interlude with a guy playing his voice mail messages? What a waste of time this is. And, by the way could a club song get any more generic and awful than telling girls to "shake what your momma gave ya" in the hook? You're still saying that, huh? Couldn't think of anything else? Anything at all?

Volume 2 Derty On Purpose offers a little more than the first album does, though not much. At least the pointless 'Checkin Messages' skits were excluded this time. The last track "Karma" was good I will say. But, in addition to having all of his untalented boys spit a verse on each song, most of the songs are as boring and unoriginal as what is found on the first disc. One notable example is a terrible stripper anthem over a sample of Jodeci's "Freak 'N' You" called "Dollaz". And it's too bad. 8Ball & MJG both deserve much better at this stage in their career. Their deal with Bad Boy should have given them the right exposure to earn a group platinum plaque and cemented them as two MCs that still maintain relevance today. It didn't happen, and I haven't heard any music from them since that impressed me.

I know my tastes have changed and my brain matured since I was bumping On The Outside Looking In and On Top Of The World regularly in my tape deck. I know this. There's an argument to be made that a listen today might be more enjoyable for nostalgic reasons than other measures of a great hip hop album (we will see soon as I do just this later this week). But, fuck all that. 8Ball & MJG could rhyme their asses off. And I liked them for their style, their flow, and their stories. Their overall sound provided by Suave House was something I hadn't heard before. But, today it seems like 8Ball is content with following the current trend of popular southern rap music. A trend he helped start of course, but that others have bastardized. Both volumes are full of generic southern club beats with no soul to them. The topics are what those with no range of life experience would stick to. And, at 8Ball's age can he really claim this ignorance that short changes his fans? There's hardly any substance here at all and it's disappointing because 8Ball should be one of the ones leading the way - not becoming another sheep to try and sell a few more records. I'm not saying he has to change his style or adopt some kind of a conscious message. But, is it too much to ask for a little creativity?

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