Chubbie Baby :: Chubbie Baby Vol. 1 :: Head Bangaz Records
as reviewed by Tom Doggett

I don't purport to follow the DipSet news closely. Of course I caught wind of Cam'ron's ill-advised and inconsequential barbs at Jay-Z, and the Diplomats are in the public eye enough so that I thought I had heard of all of them. The name "Chubbie Baby" threw me off, though, so I checked the "official" website. Sure enough, he wasn't even listed on the roster. I don't even really know his status, but his new mixtape sports the word DIPSET even more prominently than his own name, and Cam'ron clearly endorses it because he acts as host.

Taking this for what it is, a mixtape from a DipSet third-stringer, "Chubbie Baby Vol. 1" isn't such a waste of time. I wouldn't expect serious heat by any means, but the production has some bite and these cats are usually never short on flair. "Chubb Tha Don" opens, wasting a sufficiently amped orchestral loop on some mediocre rhymes:

"I got expensive habits
I rock expensive fabrics
These ears here? Yeah
They expensive carats
The streets turn me out
I submitted to marriage
Me a petty hustler? Nah
Chubbie not your average"

At least the hook is effective. Chubbie Baby just cannot develop any sort of narrative consistency on the first few tracks, sounding as arbitrary as Cam'ron but not nearly as funny or visually stimulating.

"Bout Dat" features Hell Rell, and succeeds despite rocking a similar loop to "Chubb Tha Don." To the untrained ear, the production sounds exactly the same, but the hook is excellent and Hell Rell carries his weight admirably. A Cam'ron exclusive from his pending record comes next. "Girls, Cash, Cars" has as poor of a hook as you might expect from such a title, but Killa Cam sounds as nice as ever. If not for the irritating chorus, this would be the best song on the mixtape. Luckily, Cam doesn't steal his boy's shine because of his lazy bridge between verses.

Time passes, and the effect of each song dulls with repetition. Chubbie Baby doesn't detract from any given song with his presence, but he can't seem to keep me interested. The above lyrics snippet pretty much sums up his thematic content, and he evokes no consistently pleasing or original thoughts. He is practiced enough that he sounds completely natural, but he cannot set himself apart from any of the other "hustler" emcees that I have begun to encounter at every turn. A sum of nineteen tracks is far from overkill on a mixtape, and there are a few DipSet cameos and freestyles to keep things moving. Still, far too much uniformity on the boards and the mic create a slight but consistent stagnation. "Yayo" is likely the best song because it ignores this album's otherwise constant preconceptions about what makes a good beat. The hook is marked by heavy, lonely bass, and the melody's shrill whistle begs attention. Hell Rell and JR Writer assist on the cut, which rests near the center of the record.

The production is not credited to anyone because of limited space on the minimal liner notes. Regardless, it is not very notable. There are a couple of freestyle moments, and the lifted production on those tracks is the musical highlight. There is far too much reliance on standard string loops, which creates a uniformity that is more sluggish than comforting. On any mixtape, no matter the quality, I expect a few dynamic contributions to my collection, and sadly there are none to be found. Very little of this material screams with wackness (check "Where Da Dollaz At" if that's what you're in search of), but attention spans around the world will be tested on the second half of the disc. Chubbie Baby is not worthy of too much attention, but those craving some new DipSet material will enjoy this mixtape plenty. This is thoroughly mediocre in most senses of the word, but certainly not bad. Just solid, harmless hustle rap from a crew that knows how it's done.

Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5 of 10

Originally posted: February 21, 2006