To say MIMS’ rise to the top came quickly would be an understatement. In the beginning of 2007 he was essentially unknown, but by the end of 2007 he was the proud owner of the biggest single of the year. The impossibly catchy This Is Why I’m Hot not only brought MIMS fortune and fame, it also earned him a dismissive “ringtone rapper” label. Now the pride of Washington Heights is back with his strangely titled sophomore album Guilt. What does a famous rapper have to feel guilty about? It’s an intriguing question, and one …
DJBooth Album Review
Everyone who only knows MIMS in relation to his temperature - and that’s most people - will be shocked to find that the majority of Guilt is more concerned with quasi-social consciousness than booty. MIMS makes his intentions clear from the beginning, leading off the album with the title track Guilt, a hook-less track that has MIMS reflecting on the blessings and trappings of his success with impressive candor: “my wealth is expressed in the form of filth.” It’s a stretch to claim that MIMS is calling This Is Why I’m Hot "filth", but not too much of a stretch, and an admission of that magnitude would be shocking in an industry full of egos that refuse to admit weakness. In some ways One Day, an acoustically oriented track that finds MIMS doing his best Wyclef impression alongside Ky-Mani Marley, is even more surprising. MIMS’ singing skills are minimal, and the song’s “love equals peace” message is simplistic, but his willingness to put something like One Day on his album is remarkable. Still, listening to MIMS do feel-good anthems like One Day or the syrupy Chasing Sunshine is like eating a salad at McDonalds. It’s a healthier choice than a Big Mac, but if you wanted a good salad you wouldn’t be at McDonalds. Guilt’s deeper material is more musically enriching than its club joints, but if I want to nurture my soul I’m turning to Lupe, not MIMS.
If you were planning on sending MIMS a backpack, don’t. For all its lyrically-concentrated seriousness, Guilt is also no stranger to club bangers, starting with the lead single Move If You Wanna. Move is a track that’s short on concept and long on booming production, the album’s most obvious attempt to recreate Hot’s ringtone-ready magic. In terms of addictive-catchiness, This Is Why I’m Hot is crack while Move is merely nicotine, but the real story is MIMS' lyrical growth. His verses on Move won’t remind anyone of One Mic, but MIMS punch line heavy flow is a vast improvement over Hot’s elementary rhyme structure. MIMS may feel guilty about his success, but not so guilty that he won’t release a track called Makin Money, a cut that’s as recycled as the title suggests, right down to MIMS spitting the same “Call me Darth Vader, I am your father” line he uses on Move. Much better is the Ja Rule and Ashanti-esque duet Love Rollercoaster, but I’d be surprised if it’s enough to garner serious radio play. Pulling off the “commercially successful rapper with a conscience” thing is nearly impossible, only Kanye’s ever really come close, and while MIMS might someday figure it out, he’s got a long way to go.
I imagine that if MIMS read this he’d have to be thinking something along the lines of, “I make party music and the critics slam me. I make deeper music and the critics slam me. I can’t win.” It’s a fair point, and I do have to give MIMS his due. He didn’t have to make an experimental track with the hardcore Tech N9ne, complete with his best verses on the album, but he stepped outside the box and gave us Rock n’ Rollin. He didn’t have to drop the confessional banger In My Life, but he was brave enough to reveal his deeper side, and for that he deserves some praise. In fact, as a sign of respect I’m officially retiring my tried and true “this guy raps even worse than MIMS” line. (Yung Berg, it’s all on you now my man). But in the end, all the guilt in the world isn’t enough. MIMS cheated on hip-hop to get that payday, and when your girl catches you cheating, feeling guilty is the first step, but it’s just not enough. And while MIMS is on his way, I’m not sure hip-hop will ever forgive him and grant him the respect he's after.
DJBooth Rating - 3 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on 04/13/09
American King Music
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"This Is Why I'm Hot (Remix) ft. Junior Reid & Cham" (2006)
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