I remember the first time I heard Low. I had just picked up my girl up from school (don’t even think of making any R. Kelly jokes, she goes to UCLA) and L.A. traffic was predictably slow. We were passing the time by flipping through radio stations, not finding anything to hold our attention, when Flo-Rida made his dramatic entrance. We both paused as Low’s epic club beat burst onto the airwaves, then T-Pain hit us with that now infamous line, “Shorty had them apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur…” For three minutes we …
DJBooth Album Review
Fast forward two months. I’m writing the review for Flor-Rida’s debut album Mail On Sunday, but I can’t stop thinking about her question. Can Flo-Rida, who in case you’re retarded crafted his name from his home state of Florida, deliver another hit without the help of the unstoppable Mr. Pain? Low has become the biggest selling digital single of all-time, which also makes it the most overplayed song of all-time, but he can’t possibly have that kind of success twice – can he? And while we’re at it, what’s up with an album title like Mail On Sunday? Mail isn’t delivered on Sunday, so does that mean we should be surprised this album even arrived? I have so many questions, let’s try to find some answers.
Apparently the good folks at Atlantic Records think Flo-Rida can deliver some monstrous album sales because they’ve thrown more money at Mail On Sunday than Pacman Jones at a Vegas stripper. Mail is absolutely loaded with high-profile producers and guest artists, from Trey Songz and Yung Joc to The Runners and will.i.am, but that kind of assistance can be a blessing and a curse. Just take the second single Elevator, featuring a typically dense beat from Timbaland that somehow combines horns, synths and about forty other instruments. The good news is Elevator is guaranteed to get airplay, the bad news is Flo is easily the least important part of the track. Sure he gets the lyrical job done, but Timbo could have just as easily given the beat to JT, Nelly Furtado or Rihanna and they would have made it a hit too, if not bigger.
Flo manages to hold his own a little more impressively on American Superstar. It’s gotten to the point where we’re surprised when a rapper doesn’t get completely overshadowed by a Weezy guest verse; which is exactly why Flo turned a few haters’ heads with an impressively full volume verse. I don’t think anyone’s busy breaking down the man’s metaphors, but he does exhibit a remarkable ability to ride a rhythm with the best of them. But before we point to American Superstar as proof that Flo can truly, well, flow, let’s do some math: Flo dropped one verse and half a chorus, Weezy dropped one verse, the chorus and did all the ad-libs. Remind me, whose track was this again?
In order to really figure out how good Flo-Rida really is we’re going to have to find a track without any guest artists, as hard as that may be. Let’s start with All My Life, a song that finds Flo switching up the girls and money formula for a look at his often difficult life. It’s a perfectly fine song, and a breath of fresh air in a club-heavy album, but I doubt it’s going to convince any skeptics. The same goes for Me & U, his attempt at a Jagged Edge-esque love-gone-wrong slow jam. While I’m admittedly impressed at the emotion he puts into his vocals, lines like “go nuts like cashews” aren’t exactly lyrical masterpieces. I’m going to go ahead and call it now, there won’t be one hit off this album that doesn’t have a guest verse.
Before the hate mail starts pouring in, and it will, let me say that Flo deserves his success. He obviously understands how to make a hit, but let’s not get carried away and say he’s one of the South’s top MCs – at best he’s not even in the top ten. In all honesty, I began listening to this album thinking his new-found fame won’t last more than a year, and Mail On Sunday didn’t do anything to make me rethink my prediction. In fact, I’ll put a bottle of Patron on it. Any takers?
DJBooth Rating - 3 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 03/16/08
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