Artist: Young GunzTitle: Brother From AnotherRating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Jay Peregrine
For rap artists, balancing commercial and raw street appeal is an art, not a science. It is a very delicate procedure that very few acts have been able to master, though it hasnt stopped many of todays major label recording artists from giving it a try. With Brother From Another (Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam), The Young Gunz lock and load with 12 tracks that scatter all over the map as they attempt to hold down their existing fan base, reach out to additional segments of the audience, and introduce new artists to the marketplace.
The YGz ride into their sophomore release on the strength of the buzz generated by the heavily rotated, Swizz Beats produced lead single Set it Off, which falls short of re-capturing the magic of 2003s Cant Stop, Wont Stop. Spraying wildly, the album eventually borrows a page from Hip-hops mid 90s playbook with a pair of early 80s R&B/Soul originals that after being covered come off as an inauthentic attempt to appeal to the Grown & Sexy segment of the market. Along the way, a stray round wanders somewhere out West but Producer Chad West, actually displays some versatility on the production in their tribute to the golden state Tonight, featuring Daz Dillinger, a classic laid back Cali pass that track. Midway through the project, songs like YG Party with its repetitive themes of flossin along with its downtrodden counterpart Same Sh*t, Different Day which is as lazy as its title suggests, accentuate the low points of the album by showcasing two of the YGs weaker efforts sitting side by side on the tracklist.
The spray and pray approach the YGs take to reach their targets, give the album a fragmented and confusing feel. The shallow themes and sub par lyricism-Wherever I go, best believe I got my forty/ Rollin down to South Street to get a little sporty -add additional downward pressure to the album. But towards the latter stages of the album something good takes place on songs like Beef and Its the life since they offer strong, vivid narratives of street life and everything that surrounds it. On another revealing song What We Gotta Do they share some wisdom thats well beyond their years and matched by very few of their peers. However these higher ground moments of the album are very few and far between and simply serve as brief moments of sincerity on an otherwise disingenuous product.