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Make sure to cop R.A.B.S. "Let It Be Known". This was the album that started it all for R.A.B.S. aka RABS. You can get it here, at the Official R.A.B.S. Myspace page, or popular digital sites like...
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June 15, 2007
There have been many hip hop artists who try to do it all; to please everyone. A lot of MC's attempt to 'teach the youth', 'make em dance', 'keep their street cred' and stay lyrical. The truth is usually shown quickly by artists who attempt to do this and they all seem to fall into two categories: 'Intentional' and 'Intentional That Works'. In other words, it is always pretty clear that artists who try to cover all spectrums of life in their music are doing so, on purpose, to please a larger group of people. Some just happen to make it work for them; and usually fall back into whatever style they truly are. Metro-Detroit artist R.A.B.S. may be the rare 'third option'...someone who sets out to speak on a little of everything and does it well because that is who he truly is.
I got the chance to hear the artist's debut album and was expecting something very well put together, as he is the consummate professional. But, I didn't really expect myself to be quickly loading every song into my ipod for my own personal listening pleasure. I hear a lot of music, (by choice and by employment), and usually, even though I may come across some good stuff, I rarely hear an album that could satisfy any given mood that I may be in. "Let it Be Known" did just that.
From the intro, he lets you know where he is going with his release. He speaks on how the game and industry needs to be changed. My first worry was that he was going to go 'KRS-One circa 2000' and preach until I couldn't take anymore. But, you can tell that his main goal isn't to clear the air about how the industry is "glamorizin' the image that's killin' these kids", he plans on speakin on a lot more. Also, he is lyrically advanced and has a catchy rhyme pattern but keeps his street cred through his lyrics, spoken-on experiences and delivery; which keeps you listening to the CD.
"Lonely (Don't Leave Me)" is reminiscent of Styles P and Pharaoh Monche's "My Life". He is addressing hip hop and how it is said that it's "dead". "Somebody seen money in this bad rap game; so now, it be the focus of they ad campaign", was a line that hit home for me. This is a track that will likely only please the hip hop heads and the only dip in this album is when he goes into the next track, "Yes Yes". The song, in and of itself, is great and reminds me of the mind state and purpose of Nas's "It was Written" but having these two songs back-to-back may make the average listener think that the whole album is on some 'save the game' shit.
He quickly picks it up, however, on "Check Out". He addresses wack rappers on this one and comes with some hard punches that make it entertaining. "Now they turn the dial on ya'll like bad static" and "Me and rap go together like groupies and date rapes." Those two lines were fire. He has a certain swagger in his flow and voice that let you know that he has been in the game, (both street and musical), for quite some time and that he knows exactly what he is doing.
R.A.B.S. seems to have a flair for the 'Mack' style tracks and has a few solid ones on the album. "Ooh La La" (Feat. Eva La Diva) is definitely the stand-out of this group. He's got a touch of LL on the aforementioned track and Eva has a very distinctive voice for the hook. This one could be a sure-fire hit! While the females will appreciate the funky guitar riff and overall song, the guys will love lines like, "You'll be thinkin, damn I shoulda never let him put it there."
"Bounce Dat" (feat. Sean Dalon) is another track that could get some radio play. It has a synth-heavy beat that is similar to Proof's "Girls with da boom" and a bit of Ying-Yang-like whispering but R.A.B.S. delivers some fire over the track and definitely made something that is a blend of different aspects that make a song a club hit. I, personally dug the stanza where he said, "Next mornin you can take it to ya spouse; kiss em and act like you aint take it to the mouth". Again, more slick talk that really grabs the listener's ear. And, to regain the female's self-respect in the situation, he hits her with, "This is R. nasty, don't front like you are not nasty; it don't mean that you are not classy". The only drawback on this song is Dalon. While he is a well-respected, (and deservedly so), MC, he doesn't add anything to the track, really.
"Say What You Say" (feat. Smoke Don), puts big game talkers in their places and hits you with "If I forget a bitch name, she remind me man; usually the next day when she drive me man". Also, on this one, in one of his lines, he says the phrase, "never fumble". That is the best way to describe his flow, the way that he lays out his tracks, and his delivery and lyrics. Even when hyped up, he always maintains a certain level of cool and seriousness; and his pattern-ized rhyme flow and carefully chosen lyrics show that his main key to success will likely be his ability to control a beat, song and album...though, sometimes, you wish that he would get a bit more lively, a bit less calculated and maybe change his flow up a bit. But, with a first release, you are defining yourself and after hearing his album once, he makes it to where he would be recognized easily from the pack of rappers coming out of Detroit.
One amazing track on this album is "If I could fly". (A sample from the 80's Benny Mardones hit of the same name). Merci appears again and adds the last little touch this one needed. A story of woman who gets pregnant at an early age and gets used and abused by men her whole life because she never had a father, this one will hit home with a lot of people. There is nothing "corny" about this social commentary...the song is a near-masterpiece!
"You and Me" is also a breath of fresh air, as it addresses something that the hip hop community doesn't seem to see enough of; unity in a relationship. This, among many other tracks on the album are 'grown folk talk' but with the right marketing paired with the radio-friendly tracks on the album, R.A.B.S. may just get his messages across to the youth that so desperately needs to hear them.
Artistically, "Truth" is a standout track that reminds you that the truth will always find you. "Make You Smile" (Feat. Ishmael), is yet another possible hit with a great hook provided by the co-star. The way that he addresses a female that isn't treated right in her relationship again reminds me of an updated, more lyrical LL. Women will love this track and men will love to play it for them.
"Lights, Camera, Action" closes the album on a high note that reminds you that, while he may make songs that women like and that have social meaning, there aint nothin' soft about him. The 'Goodfellas' reference,"It's about to end like Joe Pesci when he planned to be made," drove his point home well and his producer Primo comes off like THE Primo on this one; DJ Premier.
This release is more than solid. While delivering social commentary and advice to the youth, R.A.B.S. doesn't come off as preachy as other artists who do the same; he more/less sounds like someone who is still one step away from making the same mistakes that he tries his best to stray others from. This makes him more human and credible. Same goes for the love songs and "lyrics first" message of a lot of the album...he is no "back-packer"; he is just doing what he does and thinks that the game needs to see and hear. While I felt that the project may have needed one more track that would give it some added adrenaline, in all, this album is top notch.
Score: 4.5 of 5
Ryze N Shyne Entertainment began in 2004. We are inovators in the business of music, and will remain for years to come. If you are interested in becoming a part of our movement, please add yourself to our street team. (WWW.MYSPACE.COM/RABSSTREETTEAM). We are located in Mt. Clemens Michigan, 10 mins outside of Detroit.
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