Artist: Petey PabloTitle: Still Writing In My Diary: 2nd EntryRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine
The face of the Souths Hip-Hop has changed. Oh, it still has all gold fronts and some good old crunk breath. But, around the turn of the millennium, it was decided that it wasnt really all good. With No Limit and Cash Money were fascading a lifestyle that many listeners couldnt financially relate to, artists like Petey Pablo paved the way with blue-collar bounce tracks that made him a Carolina celebrity, and a chart-topping rapper. Petey held true to his Diary formula for album making, and returns with the update Still Writing In My Diary: 2nd Entry.
Peteys first single had haunted this album from the gate. Freak-A-Leek is not sticking as well as some mayve hoped. Lil Jons other production, Ushers Yeah, has devoured the hope of such an effort dominating the charts. Peteys other big budget tracks equally dont quite impress. Did You Miss Me, with TQ and Baby, is a blatant cop-off of Nellys Take a Ride with Me and has an annoying hook. The only big collaboration that gets interesting is Bubba Sparxxx and Pablos Get On Dis Motorcycle. It has an interesting beat that doesnt blow out the amps. The hook, while it might not exactly make sense, is surprisingly cool. But throughout this album, Peteys strongest tracks arent his obvious singles. What some would call filler is where Pablo outdoes much of his competition. He Spoke to Me is a great track, that follows the albums scheme. This track is a complete revelation, fitting of a diary. For a man known for his scream and roar, Petey Pablos soul goes deep when he lets it shine. When Petey gets personal, he soars high and large from the pack. When he makes club tracks well Raise Up! was lucky. This album has an even balance of the two for better or worse.
The second entry has a much bigger production budget than its predecessor. Lil Jon does the majority of the work. Besides Freak-A-Leek, nothing stands out. Mannie Freshs wicked bite of Nelly doesnt render much credit. Timbaland provides two tracks. Get On Dis Motorcycle is one of Timmys most artistic efforts with tickling vocal samples and jolting up-tempo percussion. Petey even consulted Kanye Wests help for I Swear. The keyboard and string arrangement plays well for Peteys intimacy. All together, this album has tremendous variety in its music. Nothing is superb despite the big names, but the expertise is partially reflected with an extremely professional sound.
Pablos debut was a balance of crunk and crying. At one point, hed be a towering icon of the club. In another, he was a needy artist looking for release. This album follows that suit. However, would Petey have garnered national attention for his intimate side? This album puts that question to the test. The quality of hits on this album is very slim. Corny hooks, and lack of theme pull the club back. However, this record does have some poignant moments. Petey Pablo can certainly appeal to the common-man even as his success has grown. For those seeking a loud, raspy voice to relate to, this is the album. If youre looking for the next, Raise Up!, listen with caution.