Tuesday, April 14, 2015
MOST OVERRATED UNDERRATED: FABOLOUS
A certain kind of rap fan stumps for Fabolous: reactionary traditionalists quick to tell you modern rappers are stupid, materialistic, and gay, then explain the difference between rap and hip-hop in excruciating detail like you got Gerber for brains. They got plenty stories bout the good ol days when rap was real and ladies loved grown men dressed in head-to-toe Lo. But when they name current rappers they like, it's invariably Fabolous and Joell Ortiz, and you get real scared cause you get a glimpse into the void where you're the bitter old creep blatherin about Young Thug while ogling nubile honies at the 10th anniversary show for Jaden Smith's This Is The Album.
An extraordinarily listless rapper, Loso obviously benefited from working with an enviable list of producers - Neptunes, Kanye, Timbaland, Just Blaze, Storch, Trackmasters - probably engineered through DJ Clue's back-alley politicking. I always thought he was a pop-rapper of the worst kind, an east coast Lil Zane jockin Jay instead of Pac. Then "Breathe" came out and I was like, "Oh, aight." Maybe it was the more muscular sound, but even his severe young Frank Sinatra looks stopped creeping me out.
With Jay-Z doin his lil Greta Garbo swoon away from the limelight, thirsty east coast loyalists started graspin at straws like Fabolous was some neglected talent. He might have ditched the weird teenage pimp meets J-14 cover model look, but he was still the same rapper: blandly competent with stilted wordplay scavenged from Jay-Z's smarmiest castoffs.
Fab can be entertaining in small doses, but you ain't a G.O.A.T. with a career built on pop hits and 3/5 albums. He's the Wynton Marsalis of rap, a minor talent whose reputation is inflated by the custodians of a form in its decline. Personally, I'd fire up the flux capacitor and shoot Sebastian Telfair in the left thigh if it meant liberating some of those beats for abler MCs. The Neptunes joints are especially unfortunate, since he already sounds like Pusha T's pencil-mustachioed evil twin. He did write rap letters, so I guess that's kinda cool and hip-hop.