Fabolous: From Nothin' To Somethin'

Mr. F-A-B-O….you know the rest. He’s back, and more consistent than ever. Let’s face it, when Fabolous drops an album your mind won’t be blown, but you may work up a little sweat bobbin’ your head to the beats. Fab’s new album From Nothin’ to Somethin’ (Def Jam) is no exception.Despite a persistent “Muhammad Ali return of the champ” styled beat backdrop on many of the tracks, it’s not as overbearing as you may think. The intro “Yep I’m Back” set’s the album’s tone. Transitioning into “Change Up” featuring Akon, the same horns make another appearance. On the plus side, Fab’s seamless flow mixed with Akon’s ever present high pitched voice mixes well. “You Make Me Better” produced by Timbaland, is a new age Hip-Hop love song, minus the sappy undertones; the song showcases some of Ne-Yo’s best feature work. “Mommy I’m good all by myself. But baby girl, you make me better.” Does it get any sweeter? Maybe. But it sounds just as good in your I-Pod as in the club. And Fab, whose rap style often just barely passes above the level of a whisper, conveys a laid back interest in the girl he’s rapping about, so as to not get too sentimental. Because of course, that wouldn’t be gangsta’.Through all the guest appearances and similar beats, Fab has still put together an album that’s worth listening too. Each song is conceptual, often bouncing in between hustling and relationships. “Real Playa Like” means to come off a lot smoother than it does. But when you add the chords of Lloyd, you run the risk of losing grown up appeal. Fab tells his girl just what he has to offer. The usual: trips on a private jet, shopping at expensive stores, and romantic dinners all while Lloyd’s breathy voice tries to keep up. Though the two are not a lyrical match made in heaven, the song isn’t so hard to digest. The up-tempo, Just Blaze produced “Return of the Hustle” features Swizz Beatz, who brings 90% of energy by himself. Yet Fab’s toned down energy is a surprisingly good combination. Other tracks include an ode to Brooklyn that’s not as memorable as other tributes to the borough before it. But looping Biggie’s “Where Brooklyn At?” throughout the song, and adding Jay-Z, was a safe choice. Rihanna’s appearance on “First Time “sounding eerily like Beyonce, and a confusingly clever song with Pusha T of the Clipse will make you give the album a second listen.You can’t blame Fab for doing him. In his own way he’s a proverbial rapper who translates his hood mentality, to a mainstream pretty boy appeal, without looking like a sell out. That in itself is something deserving of at least a mini applause.