O.G. Bobby Johnson

Artist: Tame OneTitle: O.G. Bobby JohnsonRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Kenny Rodriguez

A friend of mine once joked that marijuana seems to be Hip-hop’s unspoken fifth element. Smoking weed, he explained, has prompted so many rap records, freestyle sessions, and stage shows that – with the exception of reggae music – no other genre can boast of paying so much homage to the green plant. Although it’s open for debate, New Jersey native Tame One is living proof of Hip-hop’s ongoing infatuation with the sticky icky. From bombing graffiti in the mid-90s as one-half of the Artifacts, to his solo debut When Rappers Attack, to the PCP-induced collabo The Leak Bros., the only thing that has constantly remained throughout Tame’s career is his ardent love for the “bambazi.”

His present opus O.G. Bobby Johnson (Eastern Conference) is no exception to the rule. On “Get A Jar” when Tame asks, “At what point does a joint of weed / Change from a want to a need?”, it’s clear that the Notty-Headed Terror isn’t just proposing a rhetorical question; it’s more like a confession of character. Now a full-fledged Weatherman on Eastern Conference, Tame’s newfound flow sporadically twists-and-turns, stops short and peels off like Pharoahe Monch in his prime; meanwhile DJ Mighty Mi and others provide an assortment of backdrops for Tame to exhibit his fierce delivery and oft slept-on rhyme skills.

Tame flows effortlessly on the dub-heavy “Arizona Iced Tea,” later paying homage to Newark’s finest Redman on the head-bashing “Moccafella.” “Hydromatic” and “Blakout Status” is a memorable track where Tame spits, “Ain’t nothing pretty here, after painkillers and Belvedere / It’s clear that it’s meant for me to eat like silverware.” Cameos by various Weathermen members are scattered here-and-there, cluttering the LP at times, but mostly neither taking nor adding anything significant. For the most part, O.G. Bobby Johnson is simply the dusted rants and ravings of a disgruntled battle MC.

But as health-ed teachers warned us in high school, chiefing too many blunts may lead to a loss of judgement and feelings of incoherence; unfortunately O.G. Bobby Johnson suffers from both symptoms. Due to a handful of numbingly disappointing beats and limited subject matter (wrecking mics and toking bud), after 14 tracks certain songs come across as indistinguishable. Sad really, because Tame One packs a barrage of premium similes and snaps, but sluggish production and redundancy end up hindering the LP. My advice to listeners is to treat this CD like you would a dime-bag of sinsemilla: best when used in moderation.

Related Stories