Wooden pipe in his mouth, a wisp of smoke curling up around his head, thick curly whiskers rolling down his angular chin. No it's not Santa Claus, and it's not even my maternal grandfather, it's the Orlando, Florida hip-hop artist who goes by the name Grandaddy Souf. Indeed looking at the cover of "Chasing My Dream" one might think of him as a man comfortable with whiling away his days sipping tea in a rocking chair; that is except for that "Parental Advisory: Explicit Content" stick in the lower right-hand corner. There's certainly nothing genteel about songs like "Deputy Dope Boy":
"You a rat, you a rat, you a snitch, you a snitch
Youse a decoy - youse a, deputy dope boy
Go 'head and run your mouth, go 'head and rat
I just copped a new Bentley, now run and tell dem crackers that
I don't see your gold teeth, I don't see your white tees
Or your Chevy's with the beads, sittin on chrome fleet
Boy, he ain't foolin me, nigga I know you the police
You a curse to a real nigga, the ass of the streets
I wouldn't piss on a snitch if he was on fire
Now pussy boy, drink a cold glass of bleach and die!"
The code of the streets as enforced by Grandpa: don't talk or your ass ends up lined with chalk. The beat produced by Tha Nox for this track sounds like Southern Krunk 101: fast-tapping drums, a slow and distorted bass, and a simple melody of three to four notes based in a lower octave and repeated in a higher octave ad nauseum. The plus side is that the song is musically inoffensive, the minus side is that anything resembling originality or creativity is markedly absent. Perhaps since Tha Nox passed Krunk 101 it's time to move up to the 200 or 300 level courses. Regrettably most of Nox' tracks for "Chasing My Dream" stay at the core of the curriculum and never move into more elective dopeness, although occasionally you'll hear some "Big Boy Shit" that at least copied the right producer's essays and can be graded a B+ if you're not looking for the original source. Lyrically Grandpa can't improve that score - in fact he may be taking it down to a C:
"I take pride in my ride, run a 455
And I be actin buckwild with them 26 inch tires
With DVD's and TV's showin sex scenes
Cruisin at slow speeds so e'rybody sees me
Especially the haters, I got 'em burnin up
But I don't give a fuck; nigga, go on and hold your nuts
I'm doin big boy shit and that's the bottom line"
And that's the bottom line, because Grandaddy Souf said so. There's something about the man who calls himself GDS for short that just doesn't add up to me. His name and his artwork suggest a unique Southern approach to rap music that diverges from being "Lil' Souf" or "Gangsta Souf" or "Big Souf" or "MC Souf Mouth." The problem is that despite outward appearances to the contrary it's very hard to discern what makes GDS anything different or special. It's not really a good sign when you can figure out the entire topic matter of a song based on the title. "Keep Em Coming Back" matches simplistic proclamations of Souf's sexual prowess with tired metaphors: "Let me be your cutty buddy baby, I'll get you right [...] they say sex is a weapon as I'm, packin a cannon." The topic matter of "Cocaine Cowboy" is even more obvious - holding up other drug dealers for their work, and "Fun Girl" requires no explanation whatsoever. Souf obviously admires fellow Floridian rappers like Trick Daddy and Southern contemporaries like Bone Crusher, but imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery when you lack the charisma or rhyme writing abilities of your counterparts. The most perplexing thing about GDS is you get the feeling he's better than this - if he actually pushed himself to be more creative he could graduate at the top of his class, but GDS is ultimately destined by songs like these to chase his dreams instead of ever achieving them.
Music Vibes: 6 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 4.5 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 5 of 10
Originally posted: June 19, 2007