Baby Bash :: Super Saucy :: Universal Records
as reviewed by Steve 'Flash' Juon

"I was gone for a minute but now I'm home
Please forgive me for bein a rolling stone
Please forgive me, let me polish it up like chrome
Get off the phone, tell the squares to leave you alone
Let me spark yo' interest"

Consider it sparked. With a career that spans back to the 1990's under several different names and with several different groups, Baby Bash has evolved into one of the suavest rappers in hip-hop. One could even say he's the Will Smith of latino rappers, and while that may not sound like a compliment to the hardcore set it's defiintely meant as such. You can say three things about Will Smith: he's been around for years, he's smooth as silk on the microphone, and he always comes correct with at least one pop radio hit on each of his albums. Despite how heavily underpromoted Bash's last release "Menage a Trois," the album contained all the same elements that made his 2003 release "Tha Smokin' Nephew" a huge hit. Bash certainly didn't change up his style from one to the next, with a vocal tone that's part Bone Thugs and part Lil' Rob, or change up the fact that his beats are "rider music" in the purest sense of the phrase. Baby Bash music makes you want to roll the top down and cruise the streets, or makes you wish you lived in Cali and Texas and COULD roll like that even when the spot you reside at is frigid cold this time of year.

Never mind the weather though, "Super Saucy" lives up to it's name and will definitely spice up your life and warm up your mood. This time around Universal Records seems to have recognized that Bash deserves to be pushed and is still the same dude who released the smash hit "Suga Suga" for them in the first place. Borrowing from that very successful formula, the single "Baby I'm Back" quoted above features a cool crooner on the hook - this time Akon instead of Frankie J. Akon also proves himself a very able producer, providing a bouncing melody that still has the latin coolout feel that Bash seems to be so at home with. For those concerned that Happy Perez, the star producer on "Tha Smokin' Nephew" and hitmaker behind "Suga Suga" has abandoned Bash to others who can (ably) imitate his signature sound, fear not. Perez is still the man crafting fresh melodies for Bash like "That's My Lady (Money)" featuring Nate Dogg, crunked out jams like "Throwed Off" featuring Paul Wall, and the space age slow beat meets fast samples and raps style of "Keep it 100" featuring Bosko and E-40. 8 out of 15 tracks can be attributed to Perez, and with a batting average over .500 you can hardly go wrong.

Akon's work on "Baby I'm Back" is not a fluke though. The guest producers are carefully chosen and do not do Bash wrong. Block of Rock's "Step in Da Club" is hardcore Texas funk with a suprisingly smooth melodic backdrop, featuring guests from Lucky Luciano to Grimm. "That's What Tha Pimpin's There For" is some of Fred Wreck's most smoothed out work, which makes the ultra pimped out "HOLY NICKELODEON" guest appearance of Suga Free even more entertaining while simlutaneously fitting Bash like a glove. Even the title track featuring Avant is all to the good, with Swampkat making a delicious melody that's the entree to Bash's lyrical main course:

"Yeah, sexy butterfly, skin tone butterscotch
The finest linen, the type of ish she love to cop
They make stiletto heels, she a fan of Barcelona
She hatin attention but every naked eye on her
Straight out of Arizona, I told her that I'm alone-ah
I'm offerin Cristal, but she prefer lime and Corona
Super saucy, Sergio, Roxy sandals
And when she in the jacuzzi OOH she lightin candles"

Some might be tempted to say that Bash's rhyme style is too simplistic, but those who do miss how carefully chosen his words are. They show not only attention to detail but paint cinematic pictures as he casually flows along, making him to cool latino swing what Kool G. Rap is to gritty New York mafioso rap. Bash's appeal is that by his very nature his feathers don't seem to get ruffled, yet even so he doesn't feel out of place on a crunked out or bass heavy track because he is so polished and fluent with his wordplay. While he generally sticks to the lighter side of things because it's more fun, the parental advisory sticker on the front is where the comparison to Will Smith falls short. Smith seems to either be afraid to get too explicit and forfeit the Wal*Mart audience, or simply inable to verbalize anything stronger than the word "bitch" once in a blue moon just because it's not in his nature. That's not a failing though, that's just the way Smith rolls, and it's his own thing. Baby Bash has his own THANG though, and over a long career that stretches from California to Texas, he's not only made it his own but he's made it to the upper echelons of the pop charts without having to trade in his style - radio and video just latched onto it when they were finally hip to it. Hopefully they're hip to "Super Saucy" too - it's his best album since 2003 and has all the potential to keep dropping more and more hits year-round.

Music Vibes: 8.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8 of 10

Originally posted: March 22, 2005