Fabolous has been on the rap scene since the late 90’s when mixtapes were still a big deal and sold on the streets in ninety-minute cassette tape form.
Fabolous came in at a time were most of the OG’s in the rap game were still in their prime – like Jay-Z and Nas.
Fab was able to set himself apart from the rest because he emerged as one that played the fine line of being street and commercial better than most before or after him. On The Young O.G. Project, Fab had said he wanted a 90’s feel to the album which was released on Christmas of 2014.
With this being his sixth studio album, Fab makes his mark amongst the new wave of hip hop while trying to add that touch of “loso” which has made him a force in the music industry his whole career.
The album opens up with “Lituation” which is a classic Fabolous sound. For fans of his classic “Breathe” they might like the hard kicks and the way Fab runs through the track defiantly with punch lines bar after bar: “This is stuntin at the baby shower / Yeah, and it all came from baby powder / I buy her Rosé you buy your lady flowers / special thanks goes to the haze and sour / respect brought the money and it gave me power / Sneak dissin’ always been a fav’ of cowards.”
“All Good” which is produced by The Superiorz, uses the late Notorious B.I.G’s classic spoken intro to “Juicy” and the song itself has Fab describing the plight of today’s woman who can’t find a good man although she feels she puts in the work.
Fab continues with O.G. -type of knowledge on the track “You Made Me.” It’s here where Fabolous details how betrayal by ones close to you eventually mold you into the person you become – for better or worse.
If by mistake or not, Fabolous has two tracks on this album which pay a sort of homage to Nas. The beats to Nas’ “Oochie Wally” and “Respect” are used on the tracks “She Wildin’” and “Gone For the Winter” respectively.
Chris Brown is featured on the hook for “She Wildin’” which is probably the most radio friendly track on the album where Fab’s wordplay and undeniable character shine :” Lames get shot down, she do a bang bang/ she attract rappers and the ones who do the same thang / playas in the league and dope boys who slang thangs / all tryna pull up on her, all she do is lane change / tryin to lock her down, she ain’t with the chain gang / wanna make her wifey but no name change.”
On “Gone For the Winter” Fabolous continues with his onslaught of clever rhyme scheme and flow. The high point of this song, and maybe the best verse on the album goes to the end of this song when Fab rattles off bars for the last two minutes as if he’s still looking for a deal and it’s 1998.
He also seems a little upset at the fact that he kind of started a style that a lot of folks ran with: “I handle my business, never let my business handle me / saying your name could do more for you than it can for me / you give n*ggas and they forget your philanthropy. . . don’t ever bite the hand that feed you and then stick your hand for me. . . . we throw n*ggas out the truck for real / chase you out the hood, make you live with Uncle Phil.”
Where things go wrong on this album is on tracks like “Rap & Sex” where Fab goes into the over-done metaphoric use that links “rocking a mic” with oral-sex. Fab is above these child-like puns but this is where his struggle is evident. “Cinnamon Apple” quickly becomes the track most listeners love to skip as it supplies the weakest hook on the album and once again tells an over-done story of a young love that went foul.
“We Good” features Rich Homie Quan and is the second track on the album – it’s so ultimately boring that it almost makes you not want to hear what comes on after.
Fabolous and his production team show they have a certain affinity for the chopped and screwed sound because half the songs on the album seem to transition to that and the novelty wears off early – and becomes annoying. “Bish Bounce” actually gets ruined because of it.
Fab ends the album on a good note at least with “Young OG II.” It’s here where Fabolous really displays the knowledge one expects from their neighborhood O.G. For the first time Fab reveals himself as one who is fighting off things that would get him in trouble when he was younger because he has bigger plans.
His bigger plans involve his son : “I wanna show him stuff, teach him how to do things / how to ride a bike, tie his shoe strings / how to be a man, how to treat his boo thing. . . did a lot but I know I ain’t done yet / Before it goes down, I make sure that my son is set / you made me so strong, you made this whole song / you made me Young O.G., I love you Johan.”
Maybe if there was more of that Fab, there could’ve been a stronger imprint left with “the Young O.G. Project,” but Fab might be caught in a tough spot. He’s not quite as old as those who are his contemporaries and he definitely isn’t in the same age-bracket as those in this new school.
But as he once said himself “I’m old enough to know better but young enough to not give a f—.” Although we love that fun and witty Fab, it’d be nice to see more growth at this point in his career.
Rating 6 out of 10