‘Soul’ is a word that has been used loosely these days. In the past, it was used to describe the ability to move emotions and make a connection. Now it is attached to anything that is trying to claim a deeper meaning. For his new mixtape, The Soul Tape 2, Fabolous uses his arsenal of allusive schemes and laidback punchlines to connect with fans by giving small glimpses into his life. Backed by enough soulful samples to swell a 9th Wonder or a young Kanye West with pride, Fab dwells into his now public relationships and his current mindstate without getting into the specifics.
See Exhibit A, where Loso admits over a Jay Electronica beat that he’s not the one to get into details on the intro track “Transformation” (And Who am I?/Without name dropping, I’m/ Someone who saw a cop and didn’t stop, he just climbed/Someone who got money without dropping a dime/ and transformed into your leader in my Optimus Prime). But the particulars are forgiven, when Loso keeps hitting you over the head with punchline after punchline over some of the most epic and original production since he “Breathed” some “Real Talk” into radio stations eight years ago.
Producer Teddy da Don’s trash can percussion and sirens create a street nostalgia on “B.I.T.E”, which Fab uses an acronym to explain his motivation to grind. A light-hearted sample sets off “We Get High”, as Fab spits some stoner movie schemes with a carefree flow as an ode to Mary Jane (Stimulate your mind girl, it’s Friday, you ain’t got s**t to do/ I put you on some real sh**t, if you ain’t afraid to take a hit or two). Remakes of Rihanna’s “Diamonds” and Scarface’s “Guess Who’s Back” find Fab questioning soured relationships and friendships, but he concludes that neither can stop his shine.
His warning of the expense of the materialistic girl does get out-shined though by J. Cole’s vivid story-telling of the makings of a materialistic girl on “Louis Vuitton”. Steady bass, quiet keys, and engaging strings are riveting, as Cole paints quite a convincing portrait of a quiet church girl who rebels against her overly-protective father by dating rich older men. Cole’s talent for finding the irony of such an authentic character makes the materialistic girl feel so real that you could almost call her by name.
Pops never let her outside/ n***a knew the type of s**t she was up against, little did he know the s**t was going to backfire/Cuz she.. act quiet, got baptized/sang in the choir, but the thing she desired/was a older n***a that could show her how to be freak.. a young girl’s in heat.
Fab’s favorite hook supplier, Lil Mo, is surely missed on songs like “Life Is So Exciting” and “Only Life I know”, which could be much better without Loso on hook duty. Perhaps Fab should put in an ad for a full-time singer for tracks like these, but in the meantime, features like Pusha T’s signature flow of balling out control on “Life Is So Exciting” is sure to hold fans over.
If you were expecting Fab to really bare his soul on Soul Tape 2, you have to settle for a peek because Loso is just too laid back for that. He might not layout a scenario that can make you feel as though he might have been through the same challenges as you, but that doesn’t mean his slick schemes and sneaky punchlines can’t give you as much goosebumps and screw-faces as any Soul singer could. NICE!
Download Fabolous’ Soul Tape 2 here.