Artist: Field MobTitle: Light Poles And Pine TreesRating: 3 1/2 StarsReviewed by: John Burnett
It's been a long time coming for Albany natives, Field Mob, Shawn Jay and Chevy P. With their debut album 613: Ashy to Classy dropping in 2000, these Southern boys let the world know that they were country as hell and didn't give a damn. With their first, they also showed the world that MCs from the South could spit too. One would think commercial success followed. It didn't. On their next joint, From Da Roota To Tha Toota, the pair took you back to the fields sharing some clever, insightful lyrics and colorful narratives coupled with deep Southern accents, but the game turned it's back on them again. Despite receiving some heavy radio spins with their radio-friendly "Sick of Being Lonely" them boys from the field were cast out again. They emerge from the field of GA again with a new label, Ludacris' Disturbing Tha Peace, to present to you with Light Poles and Pine Trees.
From the beginning Light Poles and Pine Trees is a vivid illustration of country living, raw lyricism and unabashed Southern accents. The sun shines bright when the tandem vividly describes the simple nuances of the Southern lifestyle. They take you to the pastures of the park on the aptly titled summer ballad "At The Park". The track moves at a creeping crawling pace as the duo describe steaming hot days in ATL in a way that will make inhabitants reminisce over hot summer days when all you had to do is sit back, chill at the park, watch females stroll by and play spades. They also use the track to occasionally drop a few landmark references privy to inhabitants of the A. Field Mob continues their push through the summer on Jazze Pha produced, thought from from groundbreaking, lead-off single "So What" featuring the two-stepping Ciara. The singer's vocals go well over the duo's raps about females who hate on their girl's boyfriend.
Don't get it twisted though, Field Mob, lets you know they can do their thing lyrically too on "1, 2, 3" which displays their rewind-worthy one-liners. Shawn Jay fires off a few lines that'll catch your ear like "We came up from the bottom to the top/Started with the rocks/Used to sell them to the fiends/Now we got em' in our watch" and "I'm the film in the camera/Ni**a picture me rollin'/Picture me blowin...trees chiefin' purple daily/Weed no seeds call it Virgin Mary" all in his first verse. Not to be outshined, partner Chevy P spouts out more then a few punchlines of his own to baffle detractors of Southern lyricism.
Field Mob also show some depth on Light Pole and Pine Trees. On his solo track, Chevy P digs beneath the surface on "Blacker The Berry" discussing his troubles growing up as a dark-skinned youth. Over the infamous 2Pac vocal snippet, "The blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice" Chevy P raps about the impact of harsh jokes from his peers about his dark skin complexion and how the shame eventually turned into self-love. The song explores unpaved terrain and provides a deeper side to the usually comical. Shawn Jay uses his solo effort "I Hate You" to air out, in a Kelis-esque manner, his baby mama. This track delves into a reality for some Black men, but is hard to take serious because of the over-the-top screaming chorus performed by Shawn Jay.
Smilin places Field Mob with DTP general, Ludacris, in a track about them backstabbers who smile when you frown. Luda drops a C-grade verse, but fortunately, Field Mob cleans it up letting their lyrical inclination shine through, leaving you with gems like "They jealous, they wanna step in my spot/You can sneeze the rest of your life and still won't get the blessings I got."
Light Pole and Pine Trees is an okay album; not better then their previous efforts but definitely an above average effort by the Field Mob. With production catered to their voice, style and character, it makes the album a fluid ride to the end, but at times is knocked off by obvious attempts to produce formulaic songs (i.e. the "stripper song" with "Baby Bend Over" and the "sex song" with "Eat Em' Up, Beat Em' Up"). Besides a few slip ups here and there, this is a nice output. Old fans of Field Mob will disapprove of their shift from being country as hell and not caring to their more mainstream polished new look, but will appreciate their continued thoughtfulness and sharp wordplay. For those who haven't dealt with Field Mob, check it out for a brief look into Southern culture and reassurance that wordplay can be shown by Southern artists.