There comes a time in every man’s life when he must strike out on his own. When he must leave...
DJBooth Album Review
For Bobby V that moment was April 11, 2008. On that fateful spring day Mr. V announced to our very own DJ Z (who was indeed “doin it real big”) that he was leaving DTP, the label that allowed him to pimp all over the world, to strike out on his own. Disappointed with the support behind his sophomore album Special Occasion, Bobby V decided he’d rather work on his own terms than leave his fate in someone else’s hands. Now, almost a year later, V is back and ready to make the ladies swoon with his third album, the melodramatically titled The Rebirth, an album that shows that while Bobby’s grown as an artist, he’s also still the same guy who dreams of holding that special lady close and whispering in her ear, “don’t turn around, cause that pretty round thing looks good to me.”
In a more recent DJBooth interview V revealed that he has his 10-year-old nephew approve any potential singles, and if the tracks off The Rebirth are any indication, that is one horny little kid. It’s fitting then that while the album largely showcases a more musically mature Bobby, he still has his adolescent moments. Just take Make You The Only One, a track that shares the same production DNA as previous hits like Slow Down and Tell Me: a floating flute melody laid over belly dancer percussion. Vocally, V is the same smoothed-out singer he was back in 2005, unfortunately he’s also the same lyric writer, dropping lines like “No more party, party for me/no more drinky, drinky for me.” Drinky, drinky? Really? I heard there’s an unreleased “cracky cracky” remix with Bobby Brown. Now that doesn’t mean that the man has to be Shakespeare. As R. Kelly proved, with the right musical accompaniment even lyrics about hair braiding can be hot. Kells would have been proud then of Beep, an Ignition-esque track that alternates between seductive verses and a riding chorus that V hits with skill. Add an entertainingly appropriate shallow verse from Yung Joc and its no wonder Beep is Rebirth’s first hit. In related news, I just got slapped for telling my girl to turn around and let me beep, beep, beep. Thanks Bobby.
Tracks like Beep and the new ménage a trois anthem 3 Is The New 2 are perfectly enjoyable, but ultimately they’re just different versions of the same songs V’s already showed us. Where The Rebirth really stands out is on tracks that probably wouldn’t have been made if he stayed with DTP – tracks that show there’s an artist underneath Bobby V’s Gucci-shaded exterior. If we’re talking true artistry than we’re talking Raphael Saadiq, so it’s no surprise that the Saadiq-assisted Just Me And You is one of the album’s best. Me And You has a mid-90’s r&b vibe, letting V flex his vocal muscle a little bit while the track washes in waves of subtle horn lines and silky harmonies. This is V at his most honest and earnest, a refreshing live sound in the midst of Rebirth’s often synth heavy line-up. Even more impressive is Give Me Your Heart, a ballad that has Bobby V flirting with his gospel side. It’s a legitimately moving song reminiscent of Boyz II Men’s glory days that has V hitting notes I didn’t think he was capable of, from soaring falsettos to plaintive cries. These are the kind of songs that won’t make Bobby millions, but will earn him respect, which is far more rare and much more valuable.
On the whole The Rebirth floats between these two musical modes, alternating from the unintentionally funny Butterfly Tattoo to the addictively crafted Make You Say. But just like the title suggests, Bobby is a work in progress on Rebirth, still trying to figure out who he is, now that he can be who he wants to be. It won’t be easy, but becoming your own man never is.
DJBooth Rating - 3.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on Feb 09, 2009
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