Long before Houston’s molasses-slow style became a sure hit sound, Lil’ Flip was a DJ Screw protégé crushing heads in freestyle battles. The release of Flip’s latest album, I Need Mine, has been an odessey; the original was leaked and Flip blamed Sony, prompting a label-switch to Warner Brothers. He ditched most of the leaked tracks, recorded new material, and the result is an uneven album that alternates between classic and forgettable tracks. Flip will occasionally unleash his swerving flow in all its fury, but once he’s raised expectations, the more formualic tracks on I …
DJBooth Album Review
Flip showcases his true skills on Ghetto Mindstate (Can’t Get Away), a wandering track puncuated by deep bass strokes. Lyfe Jennings contributes an addictively soulful chorus and Flip rhymes about coming up in Cloverland as a boy surrounded by crime and his place in the game today. The result is a track that will hit just as hard ten years from now as it does today.
Flip doesn’t need to write every verse like he’s Common, straight hustlin rap can be just as dope in the hands of a skilled MC. I Get Money is a screwed track with a bouncing drum line and a car brakes sample guaranteed to get heads knockin. Rick Ross puts in a heavily slurred guest verse that fits the track’s pace exactly, and Flipperachi absolutely kills the vocals. He varies his cadence and delivery throughout the song and uses some clever wordplay while still keepin it hard. Flip rhymes “the Source owes me two more mics,” and if every track was this hot he’d be right.
Unfortunately heat like I Get Money makes tracks like Flyboy feel cold. It’s possible the beat only sounds played out because everyone’s putting out chopped n’screwed production right now, but Flip’s average lyrical content certainly doesn’t help: “You see my chain, you see my whips, on 26s, you know it’s Flip.” In addition Bustaclip treads the same gunshot sample ground rappers have been using since 50’s The Massacre blew up.
Flipperachi obviously knows the kind of songs he needs to write to get mainstream attention, and nowhere is that more obvious than on Flippin. The track is essentially an exact copy of his 2004 hit Sunshine, only this time around Mya sweetly sings the chorus instead of Lea, and its feel good pop sound is guaranteed to get plenty of radio requests.
There’s nothing wrong with cranking out some radio friendly tracks, and collecting the accompanying paycheck, but two tracks later Flip teams up with his H-Town partner Mike Jones on the hard as concrete White Cup. Soon after White Cup’s last rumbling notes end, an acoustic guitar kicks in as Find My Way starts, featuring Robin Andre singing a distinctly country chorus and Flip rhyming, “cats sellin they soul for radio play.” It’s an ackward line with the sugar sweet Flippin just barely in the rearview.
In the end I Need Mine finds the Cloverland legend constantly flipping between his different personalities: the street soldier, the honey lovin player, and the socially concious commentator. The true hip-hop legends manage to be all three at once (a.k.a. Biggie and Tupac), and Lil’ Flip has the skills to join their ranks, he’s just more concerned with getting’ his first.
DJBooth Rating - 4 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 04/2/07
Clover G Records/BCD Music Group
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Ghetto Mindstate (Can't Get Away) ft. Lyfe Jennings" (2006)
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