This ain’t the first go-around for the spin-off crew who owe their careers to the long Ludacris coattails they can ride on. In 2002 Disturbing Tha Peace dropped “Golden Grain” with a bang thanks to the buzz they had gotten from the song “Move Bitch,” but the album proved to be all sizzle and no steak. The most distinctive thing about the crew was that they sounded like poor imitations of other more talented rappers from the Dirty South. The album spun off a few interesting songs anyway thanks to guest appearances like Scarface on “Growing Pains,” but like untended grapes it quickly died on the vine and became so much rap compost. If you bought D.T.P.’s debut back then it’s probably because you trusted Ludacris to not put out some half-assed shit. Guess what? You gotJACKED.
Fast forward to 2005, which is just about long enough for their uninspiring first effort to be forgotten, and Ludacris is ready to give them another shot. This time he’s actually upping the ante a bit by stamping his own name right on the cover and declaring the album “Ludacris Presents… Disturbing Tha Peace.” He doesn’t really need to present D.T.P. to the rap audience, except maybe to those fortunate enough to have missed out on their first release, so it’s clearly an intentional marketing scheme on two fronts. First front: some people will mistakenly believe this is a new Ludacris album, especially since he duets with the rap group Field Mob on this album’s lead single “Georgia.” Second front: a title with the word “presents” in it implies a compilation album of various artists as opposed to a single entity. The fact this album is released on DTP Records though tips their hand – it’s their own shit on their own imprint. Whether you like them or not, you can’t knock the hustle, as they can sign artists to the label and collect money off anybody who’s dope. The law of diminishing returns means it’s probably not likely though – just because you add more artists to the D.T.P. family doesn’t mean it’s likely the crew will get better. In fact it might have the exact opposite effect – spreading an already shallow pool of talent even thinner.
Still if you don’t buy your songs a la carte over the internet, the temptation to buy this album for “Georgia” might be hard to resist. It’s got a lot going for it, including the obvious musical sample, Jamie Foxx doing the obvious Ray Charles impression (and quite well I might add), and a beat by Vudu that starts out sweet and suddenly shifts gears into one of the darkest and hardest pounding bass and piano combinations heard all year. Field Mob has always been underrated as rap artists so it’s nice to see them get some shine, but Luda can’t help being his charismatic self and grabbing the attention with his witty lines and sports-related snaps:
“Dirty words, dirty birds, it’s MEAN in the Dirty South
If you ever disrespect it, then we’ll CLEAN out ya dirty mouth
+Bulldogs+ clockin, these lookout boys is hawkin’
You gotta be brave in the state of (“Georgia”)
I got five Georgia homes, where I rest my Georgia bones
Come anywhere on my land, and I’ll aim at ya +Georgia Dome+
If you get into an altercation, just hop on ya mobile phone
And tell somebody you need HELP in the middle of (“Georgia”)
We some +ATL Thrashers+, scope ya punk and then smash ya
We’ll come through ya hood worse than a tsunami disaster
Don’t know who they gonna get, or who them robbers gonna hit
That’s why I keep my +Georgia Tech+ in the state of (“Georgia”)”
Unfortunately it’s mostly downhill from here. Newcomers Norfclk (that’s not a typo, they really spells it that way) show about as much charisma as a slab of granite on the cliche titled and sounding “Put Ya Hands Up” and drop embarassing punchlines like “for the bread and cheese, my razor give ya cold cuts.” WHACK. I hoped for more when D.T.P. first team songstress Shawnna stepped up for “Gettin’ Some,” but the Xcel beat was boring as fuck and the Too $hort sample only made me wish I was listening to “Blowjob Betty” instead. Field Mob’s own Smoke dueting with up-and-comer Stat Quo seems like it would be naturally hot, but again it’s a whack beat that prevents “Come See Me” from going anywhere. That’s not to say Wyshmaster’s sound isn’t clean or that his bass doesn’t thump, but alternating some random notes and trying to loop them into a melody just results in a song that should have gone in the Pro Tools recycle bin. The production starts to bounce back on “Break a Nigga Off,” but the topic matter is some unfunny misogyny by D.T.P.’s weak link Lil’ Fate. The fact Gangsta Boo was willing to go along for the ride and try to flip the script doesn’t justify the song one bit, although her impact in hip-hop has been missed since she and Three 6 went seperate ways.
It’s not until the tenth track that things really get back to the level of dope the lead single offered, and not surprisingly it’s a Ludacris solo track entitled “Sweet Revenge.” You would expect more of the same given he shares the billing with I-20 and Lil’ Fate on the following cut “DTP for Life,” especially given Salaam Remi is name-checked on production in the liner notes (he prefers to be billed as a “dot com” these days), but the track suffers from the same problem Wyshmaster had earlier – random notes in a loop do not a song make. By the time I’ve heard I-20 shout “it’s some real niggaz here” about 100 times during the chorus, I’m ready to gouge out my eardrums with an icepick. Just before I can commit musical auricide though, Luda comes back with aSUPA sweet remix to the song “Two Miles an Hour” orchestrated by DJ Toomp and featuring the Playaz Circle. It’s some slow-grinding smooth shit that’s just begging to be screwed and chopped, and even if you don’t have a clean ride you can cruise like Luda does, his rhymes will let you fantasize:
“7 cars, 8 cribs and ain’t a damn thing changed
I’m still pumpin 10 kickers, still grippin the grain
Still candy in the paint, still ridin them thangs
And most my folks would say I’m happy but I still feel pain
Until I, jump in my ride, that’s my only escape
Me and my automobile’s got these neighbors screamin, “Gimme a break!”
It’s a pity how we turn our city into obstacle courses
Don’t be mad cause I can’t hold my 500 horses
Lamborghinis and Porsches, Ferraris and Vipers
I’ma wipe the seats witcho’ drool then rub the hood with a diaper”
Don’t lie. You know like I know that if either of us had Luda’s kind of money, we’d pimp a ride like Xzibit. Of course it’s not hard to live fat when you’re the one sitting at the top of a hip-hop pyramid scheme, with D.T.P. to eat off underneath you, and a bunch of new recruits THEY signed underneath them. The problem is that Ludacris is dope enough he can eat on his own without them, and most of these fools are just wasting both time and space. The only track to write home about for the rest of this album is “You Ain’t Got Enough” by Playaz Circle, which has as much or more to do with Buckwild’s production and a smooth Tom Brock sample as any of the lyrics found within, especially when I-20’s fat sounding voice cameos on the song and keeps the dope from getting any higher. Apparently D.T.P. also felt the need to show they’re not reverse racists because they signed a white rock group named Lazyeye and featured them on the bonus track “Blood in the Air.” So whatever happened to that rock group P. Diddy had for a while – Fuzzbubble right? Where are they now? That’s right – nobody cared, and they got dropped. Sorry Lazyeye. The bad news about “Ludacris Presents… Disturbing Tha Peace” is that it’s no better the second time around than the first. The good news is if you made the mistake of buying the first one, you can at least save yourself fifteen bucks the second time around and just get the “Georgia” single from anywhere that sells it seperately.