All you need to know about The Voice is that Mike Jones spends much of it pointing out that his first album, the aptly-titled Who Is Mike Jones?, went double platinum. Two million in sales is a monumental achievement, but that album dropped four years ago, and the rap game’s changed so much since then it’s almost unrecognizable. Unless your last name is Carter, no one goes double platinum anymore. After exploding onto the national scene alongside his Houston compatriots, the thick-tongued Jones quickly became an unlikely rap superstar, and then just as quickly disappeared. …
DJBooth Album Review
You have to respect Mike Jones’ hustle. He’s the proto-typical underdog, an everyman rapper who willed himself to the top of the charts largely on the sheer force of his will and a willingness to shout his name at every possible moment - if he ever does a track with DJ Khaled my head might explode. Believe me when I say that I wanted The Voice to impress me, I wanted to write a review about the return of Mike Jones, but I can’t. The Voice has its moments, but unfortunately many of those moments involve pressing the fast forward button as quickly as possible. And if you’re writing me a “f**k you hater” email now, at least spell “f**k” correctly. The word has a “c” in it people. I don’t ask for much.
Based on the album’s successful lead single Next To You it might look like Mike Jones hasn’t lost his chart-topping touch. Next To You is distinctly reminiscent of those old school Ja Rule and Ashanti tracks, using a sweetly singing lady to bring out the softer side of a gruff rapper (in this case newcomer Nae Nae plays the Ashanti role). Add in some pop-based production by J.R. Rotem and it’s easy to see why radio wants to get next to Next To You. The Voice smartly tries several more times to win over the charts by winning over the ladies, including the Trey Songz-assisted I Know and the uninspired Swagg Thru Da Roof, but I’d be surprised if either shares Next To You’s success. As long as we’re at it let’s throw Cutty Buddy into that mix. Cutty is Jones’ attempt to buy a hit by bringing on Lil Wayne, Twista, and T-Pain for a slow-paced grinder, and while all parties involved put in an honest effort, most notably Jones switches up his syrup-slow with a full-on Twista impression, Cutty is a reminder that much like an NBA All-Star game, putting a bunch of superstars on the same track does not guarantee a great team.
If The Voice was full of tracks like Next to You and Cutty Buddy that’d be fine, it really would, but unfortunately the album takes some detours into almost unlistenable territory. We might as well start with Drop And Give Me 50, the album’s half-baked attempt at starting a dance craze by combining recycled Mr. Collipark production with a Hurricane Chris chorus. (Who? Hurricane Chris? Who? That guy who did A Bay Bay. Oh, that guy). As a general rule I like any song that includes the line “put your right hand in the air, put your left hand in your underwear” but even unintentionally hilarious lyrics can’t save Give Me 50. Somehow Happy Birthday manages to be even worse – imagine the real Happy Birthday song sung by Mike Jones over a Casio keyboard beat. It’s a travesty, and we haven’t even gotten to Scandalous Hoes II. You’d think a song called Scandalous Hoes wouldn’t need any context, but Jones apparently found it necessary to include a Scandalous Hoes intro during which he explains that the song is about, you guessed it, hoes that behave scandalously. God bless Mike Jones, but you can’t be gone for four years and then expect to regain elite status with tracks like these. You just can’t. Jones has already announced that his next album will be titled Expect The Unexpected. Sadly expectations will be low after The Voice, here’s hoping he truly delivers something unexpected.
DJBooth Rating - 2.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 04/27/09
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Mr. Jones" (2007)
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