Proud of their Southern roots and fresh out of Albany, the Georgian duo Field Mob have enjoyed a moderate level of success and notoriety with albums like their 2000 debut “613: Ashy to Classy” and 2002’s “From Tha Roota to Tha Toota.” For unexplained reasons though the group took a three year hiatus before resurfacing in late 2005 on Disturbing Tha Peace’s “Ludacris Presents… Disturbing Tha Peace.” Now apparently signed to Luda’s DTP label imprint, Shawn Jay and Smoke made their return loud and clear by starring on the aforementioned album’s first single “Georgia.”

Shawn Jay: “I’m from the home of neckbones, black eyed peas, turnip and collard greens
We, the children of the corn, dirter than Bob Marley’s BP
GA, the Peach State, where we stay
My small city is called Albany (“Georgia”)
(Ha-ha-ha) Pecan country like, catfish with grits
Candied yams and chitlins, Gram’s homemade baked biscuits
The land of classical Caprices and Impalas, super sports
Indgredients in this peach cobbler called (“Georgia”)
I love the women in L.A. and the shoppin stores in New York
The beaches in M.I.A., but ain’t nothin like that GA red clay
Look on ya map, we right above Florida, next to ‘Bama
Under that Carolina to Tennessee, you’ll see (“Georgia”)”

The advantages for Field Mob were three-fold – the promotional muscle of Ludacris behind the track, the singing of Jamie Foxx doing his best Ray Charles impression on the hook, and a powerful Vudu beat that was instantly a contender for one of 2005’s best songs despite coming so late in the year. Not about to let the advantage to be gained from this exposure go to waste, Field Mob stayed hard at work grinding out their 2006 return “Light Poles and Pine Trees.” It’s finally here and they’re off to a hot start yet again with the Jazze Pha laced “So What” featuring Ciara:

Smoke: “_Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems_, life of a legend
Haters throw salt like rice at a weddin
So what, that’s your cousin, that don’t mean nothin
Her like missin the type of affection you get
You just blind to the facts
See the lies just as obvious as cries for attention
Yield to the blindness, apply your suspicion
But listen, say you love me, gotta trust me
Why you stress this high school mess?
Break up never, they just jealous!
Drama from your momma mean mug from your brothers
I’m the author of the book, they can judge by the cover
Yes – I, I been to jail
And yes – I’m grindin for real
I’m a positive at talkin negative pimp
They hate to see you doin better than them, so!”

Of course it’s easy to come with two hot singles on two straight albums, but how does the rest of their return hold up after a three year hiatus? First things first let’s give credit where it’s due – with a big return to the scene and a lot of in pocket green from a new deal they could have gone out and hired all the big names of hip-hop production to put this together – Kanye West, Scott Storch, Alchemist, Three 6 Mafia, so on and so forth. Instead Field Mob chose to stay true to their low-key roots and work with the lesser known names who can bang out beats just as big. It’s a decision that pays off when you hear what Ken Jo cooked up – the smooth OutKast stylings of “My Wheels,” the Tupac Shakur sampling nubian pride anthem “Blacker the Berry” and the smooth flowing pimptastic ode “Eat ‘Em Up, Beat ‘Em Up” among others. Jo’s not the only one to get his rocks off though – Ole’ E leaves us “Smilin'” with James Brown samples while Ludacris provides a cameo, DJ Jaycee pounds it out hard with “Area Code 229,” and Polow Da Don definitely knows how to get with the Mob “At the Park”:

“Me and my dawg ride old school, whippin down the back streets
Lookin for the chickens on the strip like Zach’s piece
And now them hoes is eyeballin, believe it
When they be cute I have to stop them
Love myself some Georgia peaches
In Daisy Dukes with apple bottoms
Police tell us leave, we wanna chill
Free plate, took the cooked meat on the grill
Shawty gon’ choose when she see me lean
Make the jaw drop fast like my TV screen
So high think I might overdose
Behind tent gettin bent just smokin ‘dro”

Now that gets to the other key factor, and if you’re a long time RapReviews reader you know we care just as much or more about the rhymes than the beats. Now nobody’s going to front like “Pistol Grip” is going to win dopest verse awards with punchlines like “he’s ready to be squeezed like an orange/bullets penetrate, you bleed like menstraution” or that the topic of carrying firearms hasn’t been played to death. Nevertheless it’s fair to say Smoke and Shawn Jay have a certain flair to what they say, both in terms of their vocal tone and Southern drawl that accents the words even when they’re not always carefully chosen. The duo also have a natural chemistry together, not trying to one-up or outshine each other but partnering effectively to each present the other better on track after track. And when you start to underestimate Field Mob and think they can’t go deeper than talking G shit, that’s when they pitch a storytelling song like “Sorry Baby” to throw haters a knuckleball they never saw coming:

“She say that she love me, want me to be her husband
Wanna tie me down, tryin to human handcuff me
But I can’t let’cha, cause I gotta jet to
catch but I told her I’ll be back like ever
Wasn’t too convincin, she begged to go with me
Say she’ll be lonesome all alone cause she miss me
Cries when I’m leavin, whinin and weavin
But I gotta go befo’ my flight leaves me”

Field Mob’s “Light Poles and Pine Trees” can indeed be called a successful return after a long absence, but to be perfectly honest absence did not make the heart grow fonder. As much as I enjoyed “From Tha Roota to Tha Toota” I wasn’t exactly worried when they disappeared and didn’t return, because it’s far too easy for a group to drop one great album these days and vanish. Sometimes it’s lack of label support, sometimes it’s “artistic creative differences,” sometimes it’s because somebody got sent up on a jail bid. With DTP and Ludacris behind them though Field Mob doesn’t have to worry about a lack of support, and since they don’t express an excessive enthusiasm for negative behavior on their CD it’s unlikely either will be doing a long sentence any time soon. All they have to do is stay together and keep getting better and this could be the start of a whole new run with many more promising albums to come.

Field Mob :: Light Poles and Pine Trees
7.5Overall Score