Roy Jones, Jr. has had a relatively successful career in the rap arena, probably the most successful rap career out of any sports star. His single, "I Smoke, I Drank" was a major hit a few years back and his label has started releasing some decent material. Bonecrusher's last release got a good review from Flash after a less than flattering review of Bonecrusher's major label release. The next ex-major label star to drop for Body Head is N.O.'s Choppa, or as he now likes to be known, Da Real Choppa. Choppa scored No Limit's last major hit years ago with "Choppa Style." While the familiar beat had a lot to do with the song's appeal, Choppa's energetic voice was also a big contribution. Any man who is able to make a hit dance out of his own name has to have talent. Since then Choppa has been independent and has had to defend his name against another N.O. rapper who committed the faux pas of using the same name of an established rapper. Choppa no longer has to remind rap fans of who the first in the game was, but still has the difficult task of recapturing fans in an oversaturated rap game.
The album starts out with Choppa spitting over a beatbox and the combo works surprisingly well:
"You ask me, I'm a people's person
Jump stupid if you want and watch the heat be burstin
Striving to be the best, that's why I keep rehearsing
Trying to raise my son now, and trying to keep from cursing
Young God, Pastor's preaching working
You can tell the difference by the way the boy speak through verses
Dropping an album now would defeat my purpose
Drop it underground and watch that bitch leak to surface
His feet's grounded dog, I keep my surface
Keep dough, keep shows, that nigga Roy keep me working
Stack change for the range, try to keep from hurting
As long as my speech is working
I'ma keep it twerkin, and that's for certain"
It's probably an eye-opening verse for those who only know Choppa from his hits, and in all honesty Choppa tends to stick to tried and true themes, but given his distinct voice he gets away with it. "Do What I Do" is an anthem featuring strong bounce production from Timmy Fingerz. It won't blow you away lyrically, but it'll definitely get you dancing and singing along in the club. "What You Wanna Do" features a more sinister beat and once again Choppa doesn't do anything new spitting more street tales, but he does what he does very well.
"Walk Wit Me" features Juvenile and label head Roy Jones, Jr. The beat actually falls a bit flat on this one, which is disappointing given Juvenile's strong verse. Lil' Wayne drops by on "Get Out The Way" where the infamous triggerman beat is reused for the umpteenth time on a N.O. record. Yet, for the umpteenth time it doesn't sound all that bad despite having heard it before, though Lil' Wayne isn't at his best sounding like himself pre-"Carter." The final non-incarcerated Hot Boy finds his way onto "Where Ya Ward At" where B.G. combines with Choppa for the best Hot Boy assisted track on the album. No slight to Juve or Lil Wayne, but the beat here, provided by Yung Pat, is the best out of the three sounding like vintage Cash Money. Fellow No Limit survivor Magic makes the N.O. party complete on "Slugged Up" where he helps Choppa deliver an underwhelming thug anthem.
Despite some slightly disappointing performances from fellow N.O. rappers, overall "Comin Back Home" is a satisfying album. Choppa excels at crafting anthems, whether it be the deeply inspirational post-Katrina anthem "Comin Back Home" or the street anthem "Like A Dog." His main flaw is that his songs tend to fall in one extreme or the other. Either you find yourself singing along and pressing repeat or you find yourself uninterested and skipping. Thankfully, he has more hits than misses on his latest release. Choppa won't deliver the deepest overall record, but he provides plenty of energy to make up for it.
Music Vibes: 7 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 7 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 7 of 10
Originally posted: September 26, 2006