Frieze has put a little more thought into his album art than most rappers do. On the front cover you see Frieze posted up in front of a house that isn't dilapidated but has seen better days, fitting the "tired of strugglin'" theme. Open up the CD and you see the same picture of Frieze but this time he's in front of a brand new two story brick mansion with two foreign cars in the front. It's a small thing, but this type of attention to detail is the type of thing that helps make an impression with fans. Of course, fans also care about the quality of the music and it's in that area that Frieze isn't quite as creative. Frieze and producer Joey Cutless show a lot of potential on "We Tired of Strugglin'" but are both held down by unoriginal song concepts.
Frieze and Joey Cutless are from the south, specifically Louisiana and Arkansas, so the music reflects that. Cutless' beats emulate much of what's popular right now consisting of mostly big drums, strong bass lines, and heavy synths. It's a formula that can sometimes deliver good results but most of the time leads to average and uneventful music. "Ride Tonight" has a flute melody in it that resembles Lil' Jon's "Okay" a bit too much, but overall the track has decent hardcore southern vibe. "Real Nigga" sounds like it uses a sample instead of going for straight synth production and it leads to good results as the strings give the track a nice triumphant feel. But even the two aforementioned tracks don't really stand out much compared to everything else on the album. Overall most tracks can be defined as bass heavy with sparse instrumentation providing some variety. It's neither good nor bad, but far from memorable.
Frieze has talent as an emcee as he possesses an original and noteworthy voice and can flow with the best of them. His style is akin to that of southern heavyweights T.I. or Young Jeezy. The problem is that too often Frieze relies on his style to carry him and doesn't put enough effort into his lyrics. Frieze's subject matter never strays far from hustling and violence. Sometimes his somewhat simple hooks work well and are catchy, especially on songs like "Hustlers." But even in those instances the reason the hook is catchy has more to do with his voice than the substance. The verses he drops never get complex at all. The only time his lyrical content distinguishes him from the million other hustlers out there is on "Look Back" where he reflects on his life and how far he has come. Otherwise, tracks like "Ride Tonight," "Guess You Mad," and almost every other track on the album sound like just another hood kid trying to prove how hard he is.
Overall "We Tired of Strugglin'" is an album that shows a lot of raw talent and potential. While the raw talent isn't enough to fund Frieze's move into the brick mansion pictured in his album art, if he keeps working at it I wouldn't be surprised to see him make that move sometime in the future. For now, the album is too average and cliché to be recommended much. The era where merely being gangsta or introducing your hood to the world was enough to get you noticed has long gone by. Sure, guys like T.I. have made a career out of it, but even he has lyrical content to back up his street credibility. If Frieze can add doper lyrics and more original beats he could definitely be a force in the future, but as it stands he offers a lot of style but very little substance.
Music Vibes: 4.5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 3.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 4 of 10
Originally posted: June 20, 2006