It surprises me how rappers and producers are so quick to brag about how easily or quickly they can make music. I remember that No Limit, in their hey-day, claimed to be able to make an album in 1-2 weeks. Others may be impressed by such brags, put personally I prefer when artists take their time on their albums. No matter how great a rapper may freestyle or how quick they can put songs together, albums tend to be better when an artist takes his time. Tucker Booth is a rapper out of St. Louis who attempts to impress by claiming that 80% of his album was freestyled. Rather than impress listeners with his freestyle abilities, Tucker Booth releases a sub-par and unfocused album.
Tucker Booth is by no means untalented. He’s a decent emcee and the fact that he can freestyle coherent verses at times would be impressive in the context of a live performance or a sheltered college campus. Matter of fact, Tucker Booth reminds me of the quintessential college rapper. I think every college campus has that one dorky-looking white kid who has a knack for freestyling and gains a few years of fame by forming a rap/group band and performing at frat and coffee houses. While such rappers have their place and time, stripped of the aura of being on a college campus they tend to be nothing but average (and mostly corny) rappers. Tucker Booth seems to fall in this category, though he avoids becoming corny.
The album starts with “Tucker Booth 4 President,” a quasi-political track that pokes fun at the political system and bi-partisanship. The production is handled by Englebert, who provides a catchy set of electronic piano and guitar notes. It’s one of the album’s best track, but wouldn’t compete with anything on the current underground or mainstream radio play lists. “Growing Pains” attempts to delve into Tucker Booth’s past, but the emcee fails to put enough emotion into his verse. The beat this time around sounds a bit shallow and muffled and drags too much. “Born High” is a confusing track with no real direction. The “freestyling” element of the album is evident here as the verses don’t seem related and don’t make sense at times. The beat once again fails as the use of the electronic muffled base and cheesy melody sounds amateur.
The album picks up a bit on “Cold School”, a play on words that refers to Tucker Booth’s label The Frozen Food Section. The hook and beat are lack luster, reminiscent of 80’s pop, but a few of the emcees on the roster come correct showing the label has potential. The vibe is quickly killed off with puzzling tracks like “Shane Witnesses a Mauling.” Tucker Booth’s storytelling skills are pitiful, and his attempt at a humorous story of a mauling at a Siegfried and Roy show fails to grab the listeners attention. The album redeems itself a bit with “Fast Living (fat children remix).” The jazzy, upbeat track sounds good, especially with Tucker Booth’s energized flow.
“Tucker Booth 4 President” fails to keep up with other rap music out today. The production on the album is decent, but definitely not up to today’s standards. Tucker Booth himself is an average emcee that seems to have reached his maximum potential. Tucker Booth could find a small local fan base among those who thirst for a movement or artist they can call their own. Outside of this coffee shop and bar audience, Booth simply doesn’t possess enough skills to compete with other rappers.