Trill Fam: Survival of the Fittest

Don't expect Trill Fam to reinvent the wheel with their salacious yet funky Survival of the Fittest (Trill Entertainment/Asylum). They don't need to. While Hip-Hop purists may hate, Lil Boosie, Webbie and newcomer Foxx have created a funky mix of New Orleans bounce-styled joints that are heavy on the 808 and will have heads nodding. Both natives of Baton Rouge, Lousiana, Boosie and Webbie are not novices to the rap game. Both have gained an impressive underground following from their independent releases Gangsta Muzik and Ghetto Stories, which garnered the attention of Warner/Asylum Records. In addition, Webbie, who's best-known for the 2005 radio hit "Gimme Dat", is co-signed by the legendary Pimp C (UGK), founder of Trill Entertainment, with whom he’s been signed to since age 15.Survival of the Fittest's subject matter doesn't stray far from "da club" and the streets, but what else would sound appropriate over synth heavy beats and bass reminiscent of late nights riding and posturing in the club? The production provides the perfect backdrop for the club hits ("Watch My Shoes") as well as the street tales ("Say Round") and is handled by Trill Fam member Mouse (of 3 Deep). Standouts include the funky yet laidback “Adios” and cautionary “Say Round”, arguably two of the hottest tracks on the LP. Laden with breakbeats, “Adios” showcases Trill Fam exhibiting unique flows over an old-school-esque track. Other gems include the club-ready “Watch My Shoes”, “Wipe Me Down (Rmx)” and “Politicin’ Networkin”. Although a solid effort from a talented collective, Survival of the Fittest gets bland at times. Down South bounce addicts will get their fill fo’ sho, but one might OD off of the dull topics and repetitive production. The crew fares much better when they showcase individual versatility with solo joints like Lil’ Boosie’s “Thug Me Like That”, an ode to players everywhere. Over somber guitars Boosie shows a sensitive side but to his girl’s dismay, he admits he’ll never change his cheating ways. Outside of that, kudos to these Baton Rouge boys for making real rap that reps their city and establishes them among the ranks of other respected N’awlins rap outifts like Cash Money and No Limit. Like the old adage says, "If you can't stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen" or in Trill Fam's case, stay the hell out of the club.