Scoop is an MC from Vegas by way of Pittsburg who has been on this planet longer than your average hip hopper. “Blood, Sweat, & Tears” is is the third album by him listed on CD Baby, and judging solely from the album covers, it is Scoop’s “grown man” record. While in his earlier albums he is rocking baggy clothes and a baseball hat, on “Blood, Sweat, and Tears,” he is wearing a suit and shades. The message from the album cover and music inside is plain: I’m a grown-ass man, and I don’t have time for your trifling drama. Or as he says on “Buggin Me,” “Why don’t you leave me alone/I’m on my grown man ish.”
Musically and lyrically the album combines Scoop’s rough Pittsburgh upbringing with the glamor and glitz of Las Vegas. There is an R&B polish to the album in the smooth beats, the sung choruses, and the lyrics about the good life. Scoop also gets rowdy on tracks like the bumping “9n the Morning,” screaming “9 in the morning and I’m still fucked up/Got Patron in my cup/We ain’t leaving til the sun comes up!” If you are going to live in Vegas, you gotta be able to keep Vegas hours, and Scoop is clearly not so grown that he can’t stay up til dawn. “My Ties” is another uptempo number about strippers, and “Hey DJ” is dance song with what sounds like Celine Dion through AutoTuner on the hook.
Scoop also shows his sensitive side, like on the slow, syrupy “Gemini” or the introspective “God’s World.” This adds some dimension to his music, but it also drags the record down. It’s great that Scoop thinks about things beyond partying and sex, but I don’t need to hear him sing off-key about it. The biggest problem with the record isn’t the slow songs, however; it’s the generic feel to the whole album. Scoop can rap, and the beats are decent, but nothing really stands out or sounds different from a lot of other music out there. It is a very average sounding record, with average beats and average rhymes. Scoop has some skills, but he’s not killing himself in his rhyming. “When I’m off with my fam I gotta turn off my phone/cuz everybody wanna chill they blow up my phone,” he raps on “Buggin Me,” evidently deciding that rhyming “phone” with “phone” was good enough. There are great rappers who pull of an effortess, loose flowâ€”think Lil Wayne or DOOMâ€”but with Scoop it just sounds lazy.
“Blood, Sweat, and Tears,” isn’t a bad album, but it doesn’t stand out enough to differentiate itself from the mountains of albums, singles, and mixtapes that come out each month. Fans of R&B-influenced hip hop might be on board for Scoop, but personally I felt that there wasn’t enough here to make me want to listen to it multiple times. Scoop deserves credit for making hip hop for grown ups, but this particular grown up is taking a pass.