Out of the many independent artists crossing our desks, the name Young Blaze is one y'all might actually one day become more familiar with when he makes his way into Billboard charts and MTV rotations, "a young cat in the game doin' his thang / in the video rappin' 'bout money and fame." That's because this 17-year old Houston rapper fits the profile of a modern day rap star. He's got the name, he's got the look, he's from the right place. His raps contain all the necessary key words, several of which would have to be edited out in case he does make it into the mainstream media. So Young Blaze has got the thug thing down. He's "one platinum album away to rock the shows." The question is: will he ever record that million seller? Will his self-titled debut be that platinum album, even?
Probably not. Considering the many strange local success stories we have to get accustomed to when they get picked up by national distrubutors and major labels, things might be worse. At least Young Blaze got something he can work with, he's got a recognizable voice, he's got something to talk about, he's got the ability to flow. But so very little of that potential is acutally fulfilled. He sounds comfortable when spitting at a faster pace ("Check da Flows") or when the he can rely on tight beat ("Streets We Crave"). But whenever producers Luke Austin and Adrian Washington aim for a supposedly sophisticated sparse beat, Young Blaze suddenly doesn't sound so comfortable anymore. Even worse, his lyrics are straight out the starter kit for thug rappers:
"See we thug cats, chasin' the dough
Plannin' capers, flippin' paper, watch us blossom and grow
into CEO's, rap stars, dealers on blocks
Got the feds tryin' to figure how we keep it so hot"
The most 'clever' thing to say he might come up with is something like "you never catch me broke cause I'm allergic to broke." Sticking to the script as if all he ever did in his life was listen to thug rap, Young Blaze has absolutely nothing new to offer. Songs like "Represent", "Fuck dem Niggaz", "Who dem Niggaz", "Can't Fuck Us", "Sexy Lil' Thang" are full of the same phrases already heard a zillion times. Whereas similar rappers like Lil Wayne at least once in a while have something substantial to say, the only words of substance Young Blaze utters are the thank yous in the outro. The well orchestrated "Streets We Crave" might be another candidate, if Blaze wouldn't put out such a confusing message: "We gon' make it out the hood someday / these niggas don't understand it's the streets we crave."
To Young Blaze and his camp this review might read like the written version of that obligatory 'hater' skit they got, but unfortunately this young rapper is as one-dimensional as any stereotype hater figure.
Music Vibes: 4 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 4 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 4 of 10
Originally posted: August 27, 2002