Rappers never admit their mistakes. Every baller has a bad game, but rappers maintain a strict...
DJBooth Album Review
The kind of rapper who sues Bad Boy for breach of contract, then decides, “I’ve got all this material that Bad Boy won’t release. F**k it. I’m just gonna drop it online myself.” In many ways that makes Yung Joc a digital hip-hop pioneer. He’s the first major artist I can think of to release an album solely online with no major label backing, giving us a glimpse into a seemingly inevitable future where large labels are useless and digital distribution reigns. If only Grind Flu were a killer album we’d really have a landmark moment on our hands, but sadly it’s not. Or maybe it’s not sad at all. Grind Flu contains none of the gimmicky (and allegedly Bad Boy prompted) lows of Hustlenomics, meaning on Grind Flu we’re likely seeing the purest display yet of who Yung Joc really is: an entertaining rapper who’s still making mistakes.
Joc clearly learned something from his time in major label land, namely the importance of a hit single, preferably one with some R&B crossover. Hence Wham, a slowly bouncing track featuring a hook by the always smooth Slim that returns the favor for Joc’s work on So Fly. Wham’s down tempo vibe means Joc’s flow is syrupy slow, putting the spotlight squarely on his punchline heavy rhyme style, a mixed blessing considering the quality of his lines (FYI: if you’re “digging in her stomach”, pull out, you’ve gone too far). Similarly female focused is the made for the clubs Choose Me. Chris Brown makes one of his first post-arrest appearances on Choose Me, and he does fine, despite apparently missing the 'auto-tune is dead' memo during his trial. If anything Brown, and the other guest Pleasure P, spend too much time on the track, making Joc sound like a guest on his own song - never a good thing. Joc is no stranger to radio success, and while Grind Flu has its share of potential hits, most notably including the celebratory Drinks Up, it’s hard to see anything off Grind Flu truly blowing up.
When Grind Flu’s not seducing it’s grinding, it's bumping track after track of the money and cars raps Joc built his name on. Just take the title track Grind Flu, a banger with all the hallmarks of classic trap production, from the stuttering snares to the big synths. For his part Joc is on point, dropping an engaging flow that gets the job done but won’t blow anyone away. Still, Grind Flu is entertaining as hell, even if the “achoo” gimmick gets a little old. (Get it? He’s sneezing cause he’s got grind flu. I wonder what sounds he would have made for Grind Herpes?) By far my favorite cut on the album is the DJ Khaled assisted Make a Movie, and by “DJ Khaled assisted” I mean the only thing he does on the track is yell. Movie is the track that truly shows Joc’s potential to be a top-shelf MC, dropping enough movie references to demand repeated listens. For instance: “I’m not Will Smith, but I am a legend.” Well played Joc, well played.
Grind Flu is at its heart a trap music album, packed with bangers ranging from the engine revving 500 Horses to the menacing Universal Language, and how much you enjoy it will hinge largely on how much you’ve enjoyed Joc’s previous southern fried adventures. No matter your personal preference, the fact that Grind Flu is a step in the right direction for Yung Joc is undeniable. Where he goes from here is, finally, completely up to him. Let’s just hope he’s learned from his mistakes.
DJBooth Rating - 2.5 Spins
Written by Nathan S. on Aug 20, 2009
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