Lil Wil :: Dolla$, TX :: Asylum Records
as reviewed by Justin 'Tha Shiznute' Chandler

Dallas' Lil Wil epitomizes the current trend of the popular rap music; a highly synthesized form of music that is unapologetically surface level. His label may say that his niche' is speaking on the reality of his life and surroundings, but this sampler only expresses the dance-inspired subgenre we have come to know of this generation's radio rap. The question is: Does this side dish sampler for his debut album "Dolla$, TX" deserve a full meal review and inspire the listener to want more?

Given the short nature of this sampler, the merit of each track will be discussed individually to give you a good idea of what Wil Martin AKA Lil Wil is all about.

Track 1: Dolla$, TX

The opening track is obviously supposed to characterize the featured artist as an artist from the D-town, Dallas, TX. However, the cut does little to explain how Dolla$ (as he calls it) is different than any other city, other than it is good place for a hustling entrepreneur to make his come up. There is no chorus here and the clumsy flow makes it sound like he is just smattering words over a serviceable beat. In fact, there is really no focus here at all as he jumps from one topic to the next..

Track 2: Thug Thang

The second effort on the album is a step in the right direction as there is more of a semblance of structure and purpose, albeit a rather simple one. The synthesizer kicks in and it sounds surely like something you have heard before when the claps and snare kick through the speaker. The chorus and sing-songy first hook account for half of the track. The R&B chorus goes like so:

"Switching lanes, sippin' drank
I'm good I can't complain
Just doing my thug thang
I'm just doing my thug thang
VIP in the club, we straight
Bottle after bottle man I love this game
Just doing my thug thang
I'm just doing my thug thang"

The crooning is certainly not that of the level of top-notch singers like Ne-Yo or Usher, but it is catchy. Lil Wil comes stronger on this performance too because he lessens the Southern draw.

Track 3: My Dougie

If "Thug Thang" does not suffice as an attempt at a radio-friendly single, "My Dougie" certainly does. My Dougie refers to the old school "Dougie" done by the legendary Dougie Fresh, mixed with a dance in Dallas called the "D-Town Boogie." Putting the two moves together creates a whole new dance called "My Dougie." Furthermore, it is a positive state of mind, like feeling fresh or fly. This has been done to death with songs like "Crank That", "Get Silly" and "Lip Gloss," which are created as a gimmick with the sole purpose to generate popularity. There might have been a time when these joints were actually a clever slice of one's region, but that time has long passed. This comes complete with the snaps and the repetitive phrase of "My Dougie." These songs are notoriously hook-heavy and there is no exception here as the subdued verses consist of dirty lines like, "Goddamn! I like the way she workin' me, ass sit right and it's like magic when she twerkin' me," to mention just one. Ultimately, this disparity is too much of a distraction and the formulaic romp loses its steam.

Track 4: Move It Ft. Papa Reu

This Caribbean flavored cut is the softest track on the disc and is the highlight as well. The fact that Lil Wil got in the studio, heard the beat and completed it in 15-20 minutes goes to show that they were inspired, but also raises questions about Wil's song-writing process--not everyone is Jay or Weezy. Still simple by nature, "Move It" seems more immediately accessible to the average rap listening crowd as the subject matter is less lewd than what is heard on the other tracks. Here Lil Wil raps pretty effectively for a party track:

"Yea Mama I made it
And it's so crazy why they hate me
Dougie was just the basics
I'm just getting started
Don't have no patience
I'm with a beautiful lady heading right to the bar
Straight Patron no chasing
Baby girl don't chase me
Just be easy, we going make it
Til probably next week
If I speak to another freak
Baby then its peace
I got the game on a leash
I'm a pimp in my own rhyme
Respect it, capiche
From the West to the East
The South and the North
Baby girl I'm a beast
I see you moving to the beat
C'mon, c'mon groove with me"

The compliment of Papa Reu makes it all the more enjoyable. If Lil Wil expects "Dolla$, TX" to be a fun and popular album he needs to make more songs like this and avoid trying too hard like he does on "My Dougie."

Four songs deep into Lil Wil's material on the "Dolla$, TX" sampler and you get a wide range of quality. The title track is a mess of a track that does nothing for the listener, whereas "Move It" will make you do just that. It seems like Lil Wil's sheer goal in creating his tracks is to make popular rap music. This is the same way a lot of young rappers are misguided, as their forced songs often sound contrived. Lil Wil needs to break this status quo if he wants more heads to listen up.

Music Vibes: 5 of 10 Lyric Vibes: 4 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 4.5 of 10

Originally posted: July 1, 2008