Dem Franchize Boyz :: On Top of Our Game :: So So Def Records
as reviewed by Pedro 'DJ Complejo' Hernandez

Just a year ago Dem Franchize Boyz were no more than a novelty act that cashed in on their hit "White Tees." While acts like DFB and D4L used to fizzle out pretty quickly after their one hit, nowadays it seems the hip-hop audience is a lot more tolerant for their brand of party music. Not only did DFB get a chance to make another album, they've actually been treated like rap stars the second time around garnering nationwide promotion and even a first-week release promotional deal with mega-retailer Best Buy. An outsider would take this hype as a sure sign DFB was something to peep, but one listen to "On Top Of Our Game" makes it clear that DFB hasn't stepped their game up a bit and gives the same brand of shallow party music they brought the first time around.

At only 13 tracks, DFB's new album doesn't suffer from dragging on too long and actually brings a consistent vibe. Two of the album's thirteen tracks are remixes of their hits from their first album, making their sophomore set only eleven tracks long. Of the remaining eleven tracks, a few stand out enough to take note. "Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It" is their current single and to be frank is the same as "White Tees" or "I Think They Like Me" only with different words. The beat structure and chorus structure are almost identical and the song offers nothing more than another chance for the group to showcase their signature snap and dance routine. The only track that would fall under the tag of a must listen on this album is "My Music" which features grimy dirty south production from J.D., a dope Pimp C sample on the hook, and an even doper appearance from Bun-B on the mic. Outside of that one track the rest of the album is a collection of tired clichés over bass heavy production.

The production on the album is actually decent for a party album and captures a nice dirty south bass vibe. Handled mostly by in house producers, the tracks range from smooth ladie's cuts ("Freaky As She Wanna Be") to more menacing synth driven bangers ("Ridin's Rims). While it won't make anyone's list of classic beats, the production handles its job decently. Lyrically, DFB falls to pieces as the emcees have nothing to offer on the mic. Their choice of topics is taken from the stereotypical and pompous street culture Top 40 rap tends to promote. They never get past brags of either their money, cars, sexual prowess, or street credentials. Even within those tired topics there is room to flex creativity lyrically but the crew's flow's and rhymes never get past the most elementary levels. The best line spit on the album, outside of guest appearances, is the claim that their cars are "floating like dead bodies."

At the most basic level, if you liked DFB before you will love "On Top Of Our Game" and if you hated them this album will do nothing to change your mind. To their credit the group is consistent and backed by catchy beats. They provide nothing but brash and ignorant party music, but it seems there is a place for that brand of hip-hop in today's rap game.

Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 3 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 4.5 of 10

Originally posted: February 14, 2006