Still Writing In My Diary: 2nd Entry

Artist: Petey PabloTitle: Still Writing In My Diary: 2nd EntryRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Paine

The face of the South’s 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 wasn’t really all good. With No Limit and Cash Money were fascading a lifestyle that many listeners couldn’t 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.

Petey’s first single had haunted this album from the gate. “Freak-A-Leek” is not sticking as well as some may’ve hoped. Lil’ Jon’s other production, Usher’s “Yeah”, has devoured the hope of such an effort dominating the charts. Petey’s other big budget tracks equally don’t quite impress. “Did You Miss Me”, with TQ and Baby, is a blatant cop-off of Nelly’s “Take a Ride with Me” and has an annoying hook. The only big collaboration that gets interesting is Bubba Sparxxx and Pablo’s “Get On Dis Motorcycle.” It has an interesting beat that doesn’t blow out the amps. The hook, while it might not exactly make sense, is surprisingly cool. But throughout this album, Petey’s strongest tracks aren’t 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 album’s scheme. This track is a complete revelation, fitting of a diary. For a man known for his scream and roar, Petey Pablo’s 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 Fresh’s wicked bite of Nelly doesn’t render much credit. Timbaland provides two tracks. “Get On Dis Motorcycle” is one of Timmy’s most artistic efforts with tickling vocal samples and jolting up-tempo percussion. Petey even consulted Kanye West’s help for “I Swear.” The keyboard and string arrangement plays well for Petey’s 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.

Pablo’s debut was a balance of crunk and crying. At one point, he’d 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 you’re looking for the next, “Raise Up!”, listen with caution.

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