Artist: Jermaine Dupri Presents...Title: Young, Fly & Flashy Vol. 1Rating: 2 1/2 StarsReviewed by: Blaksicilian
Its been nine years since So So Def CEO (and now Virgin Records' President of Black Music) Jermaine Dupri released the labels gold-certified compilation So So Def Bass All Stars, Vol. 1. Since then he has steered the careers of rappers Da Brat and Bow Wow as well as releasing three other compilations showcasing the diversity and talent among the South. In the past, all of Dupris compilations have been launching pads for regional artists as well as critically-acclaimed albums. Not so with his latest effort, Young, Fly & Flashy Vol.1 (So So Def/Virgin). A poor attempt at showcasing the newest So So Def signees, the album falls short of providing a taste of how innovative and dope Southern Hip-Hop can be. Instead we are given a project full of lackluster tracks, recycled concepts and artists whose passion is just not enough to set them a part from the popular players of todays burgeoning Southern rap scene.
Newcomers Young Capone and The Kid Slim fail to impress on tracks like Im Hot and the tedious 10 Toes. With talented artists like Boyz N Da Hood and Slim Thug repping heavily for the South, competition is too fierce for Dupris newest draft picks to deliver with no originality. Party joints like Gotta Getcha, which is too short to be enjoyed, and KP and Envyis Put Cha Hands Up are both mediocre attempts at club-friendly radio songs. Put Cha Hands Up just does not get the party started the same way the duos 1997 hit Shorty Swing My Way did. And what could have been a hot ode to exotic dancers if it was just a little longer (Gotta Getcha), clocks in at less than three minutes.
But Southern enthusiasts dont fret; all is not lost on this LP and there are a few tracks worth checking for. Kodak Moment is authentic down-South rider music featuring Kavious, Pastor Troy and UGKs Bun B. The addictive I Think They Like Me (Remix) is made for stuntin in your ride and worth a listen just to hear Da Brats scene-stealing bars. ATL veteran Pastor Troy shines again on Just to Fight, which is reminiscent of his classics No More Play in GA and I Declare War. Another heater, Throwd Off featuring T. Waters is a catchy party joint guaranteed to have heads nodding in the club although the Asian-influenced track sounds similar to the Terror Squads 2004 hit Lean Back.
Staying true to todays formulaic topics (bling, pimping and the streets) combined with a lack of originality, Young, Fly and Flashy Vol. 1 could not have been more appropriately-titled. The album does little to give a true glimpse of the potential these newcomers possess, nor does it highlight the musical creativity and hit-making ability Jermaine Dupri is known and celebrated for.