Review: 3 out of 5
Best Song: CocaBaby
Fat Joe returns with his 8th album, Elephant in the Room, which is his second album independently distributed through Koch [sidebar: he also apparently gets $6.50 for each album sold]. We all know Fat Joe is one of the most hardbody rappers in the game, and his street cred is unquestioned in New York City. However, as a rapper I have never really felt homie do to his weak flow and lazy lyrics. I also must admit I have never listened to a Fat Joe album and only decided to give this one a shot to see what homie had to say, considering all the “hype” surrounding the man (and besides the label did hit me off with a free copy). So does Fat Joe live up to the hype and to the title of the elephant in the room? By the way, the phrase “elephant in the room” is an idiom for something which is true but goes being ignored, in this case Joey believes he is underrated amongst his peers.
1. The Fugitive (Produced by Street Runner)
A decent intro track over a thumping Street Runner beat. The only problem I have with Fat Joe is he needs to focus his lyrics more, rather than be all over the place talking shit. Also another theme throughout this album that many make take offense too is Fat Joe’s constant need to prove he’s allowed to use the “n-word”. Fat Joe says, “Now whose going to tell me I can’t say nigga? Nigga, nigga, nigga, nigga, nigga, nigga”. It doesn’t work, and comes off very Lil Waynish, but nearly not as fun.
2. You Ain’t Sayin’ Nothin’ featuring Plies (Produced by Cool & Dre)
I personally don’t feel hooks where they say the same four words over and over again, for me it seems like a case of lazy hook writing. Also this beat isn’t the usual banger expected from Cool & Dre, there’s something about the rhythm that sounds like this beat was rushed. Oh yeah and the Plies features does absolutely nothing for this track.
3. The Crackhouse featuring Lil Wayne (Produced by Cool & Dre)
Now this is more like it, an epic Southern beat courtesy of Cool & Dre and an insane hook by Lil Wayne, there’s no way Joey Crack can screw this one up. I think this joint is even better than “Make it Rain” as it seems Joe really went in on this one. This is a hot song, no matter what Fifty says.
Best line: “Even Reverend Al be like Joe’s that nigga”. (I know more “I can say nigga too” talk).
4. Cocababy (Produced by Danja)
Timbaland protege Danja, who I’m a huge fan of, does not disappoint as this beat is disgusting. The hook, the swag, the flow everything works on this one for Joe. The whole thing sounds like some boom-bap futuristic New York shit, if that makes sense, which is exactly what we need. If this does not convert the plethora of Joe “haters” nothing will.
5. Get it for Life (Produced by Dj Khalid)
This track immediately sounds annoying and not only because Dj Khalid shows up for some good ol’ “we the best” banter, but because the drum beat sounds way too fast for it’s own good. The melody could have worked over a slightly slower Southern double time pattern drum line. The hook also reminds me of some 80’s Glass Tiger shit, which is mad wack. Also what the F are they going to “get for life”?
6. Drop (Produced by Swizz Beatz)
Swizzy been on a roll as of late after producing that smash for Jigga and Mary J “Your Welcome”, here he continues his prowess for uptempo mayhem beats -with scattered drum lines that only make it possible to shake your shoulders. Only problem with this song is it sounds like it should be on a Ruff Ryders compilation album with a release date of March 8, 1999.
Most played out line: “Call me the janitor, cause crack got keys”.
7. I Won’t Tell featuring J. Holiday (Produced by The Hitman)
I don’t know why but I hate this song. I know Joe tried to go for that “What’s Love” feel, which was a total smash, but this joint comes off very empty and passe. And contrary to what Fifty says, J. Holiday is not the main event on this one, the main event is when the song is over.
8. K.A.R. (Kill All Rats) (Produced by Street Runner)
I do like the Street Runners style of mixing East coast samples with Down South drum patterns, but this track suffers because of Joe’s inability to add any ounce of wit to the topic at hand. The song is about killing rats, and Flow Joe does just that, but he doesn’t say anything that makes me say “wow” or even chuckle, where’s the wit?. Also all his empty threats, sound just that, empty.
9. 300 (Produced by The Hitman)
Now the title alone, 300 is sick. The beat bangs like it should for a song called 300. And I’ll even say Joey rides the beat like a song called 300 should sound. However, this hook is mad gay, in particularly the whole opera singing bit sounds too over the top for the beat. This beat is decent, but it’s no Victory.
10. Preacher on a Sunday Morning (Produced by Scott Storch)
Scott Storch hits the boards and instead of giving Joe another “Lean Back”, he hits him off with a Primo-esque sounding chop juggling some guitar riffs. Joe actually goes in on this one, staying focused and yes adding some wit to the topic, airing out the elitist New York rappers who don’t rep the Rotten Apple anymore -gee I wonder who he’s reaching for *cough* Jay-Z *cough*.
11. My Conscience featuring Krs-One (Produced by The Alchemist)
Now this should have been the intro as it really provides a brief into the background of Fat Joe. His street cred turns up a few notches on this one, and let’s not forget the Krs-One appearance as Fat Joe’s “conscious” which provides some good ol’ hip hop cred -oh yeah and it’s not done in a tacky way as per usual.
12. That White (Produced by Dj Premier)
Speaking of tacky attempts to increase hip hop cred because you’ve done way too many Southern songs, Fat Joe gets none other than Mr. Hip Hop himself, Primo, to provide the backdrop for this one. The sample chops on this one would have been perfect had Primo not added that annoying “Yeah” and did a drum pattern switch up at the end of the loop. Joe’s rap does nothing for this song and as this is the last song on the album it does nothing to close off the album.
Overall, the album suffers do to unfocused rhyme spitting from Joey Crack and really poor song sequencing. Ultimately the album fails because it doesn’t prove just why Fat Joe is the elephant in the room as his lyrics and flow are still leagues behind New York giants Jay-Z, Nas and dare I say Fifty, Cam’ron, and every other Big Apple spitter.