The Shop Boyz are the reason they invented the ringtone. Back in the day if an album wasn’t worth the money but still had at least one good song, you’d buy the single. Now if the album’s bad and the entire song’s not really worth your hard earned cash either, you just buy the best ten seconds. With that in mind feel free to spend a few weeks hearing Party Like A Rockstar on your phone, but under no circumstances should you buy their album Rockstar Mentality , even if you know Meanie, Fat, and …
DJBooth Album Review
First let me say this; I have nothing against the Shop Boyz and I don’t take any pleasure in writing negative reviews. So with that in mind I’ve listened to every second of Rockstar Mentality and spent most of it feeling vaguely nauseous. In fact, I got so many problems with this album I’m going to have to break it down outline style.
I. The Shop Boyz claim to have invented a new brand of music they’ve dubbed “hood rock,” meaning hip-hop beats and rapping laid down over hard rock guitar riffs. It’d be more accurate to say their marketing department invented “hood rock.” Melding hip-hop and rock is nothing new, the most prominent example being the 1986 release of Aerosmith and Run-DMC’s collaboration Walk This Way . Hundreds of artists have similarly experimented and if “hood rock” is different it’s because the lyrics deals mostly with money, jewels and booty. You know, what they care about in the “hood,” at least according to record labels.
II. Only a handful of songs on the album actually use the “hood rock” sound. Besides Party Like A Rockstar, only Sumthin’ To Talk ‘Bout and World On Fire have a truly hard rock edge, even their second single Totally Dude replaces the guitar line with an electric violin. The rest of the album is made up of decent at best hip-hop beats with a couple horrendous R&B-esque tracks thrown in (I’m looking at you Next To Me). The title track Rockstar Mentality mixes marching band horns and drums with string melodies and is actually the best beat off the album. The track’s not that bad, so they have that going for them.
III. They’re all such terrible rappers they make MIMS look like Nas. The track They Like Me opens with this lyrical gem: “Hold up please/girl don’t you see the green/don’t you see these diamonds/what that is/them shiny things.” Believe me; it doesn’t get any better from there. This is why people think hip-hop’s dead.
IV. The track Rollin sounds like a bad high-school musical version of the play Grease’s signature song Greased Lightning .
V. When the Shop Boyz say they party like rockstars they’re not talking about Led Zeppelin or Metallica, they’re talking about late 80’s hair-metal, their logo’s obviously based on Guns N’ Roses. The appeal is in the contrast; they’re black and hair-metal is about the whitest music you can find outside of country. This is essentially the same reason white kids blast gangsta rap out the speakers of their mom’s mini-van, it’s something different and foreign and exciting, though without the problems that come when white people appropriate black culture. They’re also confusing their white people speak, there’s no way rockers would ever say something like “cowabunga,” that’s SoCal surfer talk. They’re a gimmick. Even their record label knows its, they pushed the album release date up because in a few weeks they’re lose the momentum from Party Like A Rockstar and no one will care who the Shop Boyz are.
There, I think it’s all out of my system. I’m sure proms across the country were playing Party Like A Rockstar so kids could go crazy. Fine, enjoy it while it lasts; just don’t get suckered into buying the album. Loyal readers will know I’ve never given an album a 1 rating before, I was hoping I’d never have to. Sadly, that day has come. Hopefully next week will be better, until then, like totally rock on bro.
Listen to More: Shop Boyz Written by Nathan S.
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Party Like A Rockstar" (2007)
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