If you told me the members of D4L were going to release solo albums three years ago I would have simply screamed at you WHY?!!??! There are few rap albums in the last 25 years I have had a more distinct displeasure listening to than D4L's "Down for Life." In fact this album was so hideous I need to quote myself just so you'll understand the depths of my reluctance to review Shawty Lo's solo album.
"I wish somebody would explain to D4L that just because you want to make music for the South it doesn't have to appeal to a denominator so much lower than common it makes the gutter look like the skyline. File this one in the same category as Dem Franchize Boyz - rap that gives other rappers a bad name."
Now against all hope for sanity, reason and quite frankly good taste D4L's OFFENSIVELY STUPID MUSIC became very popular after their album was released. If you were a music label executive you'd have to be even dumber than D4L to not cash in on that popularity, or as they like to say "strike while the iron's hot." Since it's taken just over two years for Shawty Lo's "Units in the City" to come out, I would have expected that hot iron to cool off a lot - and I'd be wildly wrong. In fact Shawty Lo's first single "They Know (Dey Know)" was so successful it's already inspired a remix featuring Lil Wayne and Ludacris. Thank Cthulhu they showed up on it because the original version is mind-numbingly insipid.
"Shawty Lo -- I got flavor
Cause you know, the kid got paper
Like 40, don't savor
Bankhead - been pullin capers!
The way you drop woulda thought I had a taser
Call me street, like the razor
Shawty Lo, A-T-L, I'm the MAYOR
Street nigga but my gear be tailored
Every now and then, Shawty might rock gators
Me and that kush, I got acres
Yeahhhhhhh! No more nosey-ass neighbors
Big up -- to all my haters!"
If you had to make a top five of rappers from the South who are easy to parody, Shawty Lo's name would go right next to Lil Jon and Young Jeezy - shame that he doesn't have the former's charisma or the latter's narrative ability. Think of any subject right now - basketball for example - and pretend you stopped reading books after "The Cat in the Hat." Now write a Shawty Lo rap on the subject and it will probably turn out a little something like this.
"I play ball -- I make paper
Ballers say Shawty Lo is a PLAYER
On the courts... Shawty's major
Like Portland I'm a real TRAIL BLAZER
My footwear, you know it's got flavor
Ball on and off the court like I'm the MAYOR
Street game, I won't lay up
I dunk on you just like Tracy MCGRADY!
Girls want the kid, they savor
Pull the blinds on my hatin-ass neighbors!"
I'm not sure I made that one bad enough to reach Shawty Lo's level of lyricism. Finding anything productive to say about the rhymes on "Units in the City" is counter-productive. "Dunn Dunn" is DUMB DUMB. On "Foolish" Shawty decides to imitate the worst parts of both Rick Ross and Young Jeezy and is insulting to both in the process. "That's Shawty Lo" - as if I couldn't have figured that out from the vapid rapping. Why anybody would "Cut the Check" upon hearing his awful lyrics is completely beyond me.
"Cut the check - I really live the life
Niggaz look up to me I am the sky
Yeah, I'm so fly
Screamin Bankhead 'til the day I die
You lookin at this rap in it's flesh, rap at it's best
Bankhead nigga, Front Street is next
Don't hate me, nigga hate the game
I did it for the money, you did it for the CHANGE!"
The production and lyrics here are so awful I'm actually getting nostalgic for Soulja Boy's album. I'm done. I can't take this any more. You can't pay me enough to listen to the rest of this CD.
EDITOR'S NOTE: D4L-Records.com is alleged to be the correct domain name for Shawty Lo's label on his CD, but I was unable to connect to it while writing this review.
Music Vibes: 1 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 1 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 1 of 10
Originally posted: March 4, 2008