“April 18th I’m droppin _The American Dream_”
Here’s a tip for Mike Jones – your message in E-40’s “I’m Da Man” certainly got the streets heated, but don’t say it if you can’t meet it. April 18th came and went and there wasn’t a damn thing to be found in stores anywhere. Nor April 25th. Nor the week after that. And so on, and so on, and let the beat flow on, until finally I found somethin to go off on. Last Tuesday the album “Still Tippin in Texas” caught my eye. Now as I’m sometimes wont to do I picked this one up with no prior knowledge of what was on it, let alone the fact it was even coming out. When I got home and took the shrinkwrap off I was even more pleasantly surprised to find out this was a MIKE JONES & LIL FLIP album. Now that sounds like a dream team in the making. Mike Jones is a little mediocre as rappers go but he makes some pretty damn good beats, and Lil Flippa is far from mediocre in any way shape or form. I ripped the album, put it on my iPod, and promptly forgot about it for a week. Shit – didn’t I buy some new Mike Jones album to review? I should check that shit out.
As I scrolled down the album list and dialed up “Still Tippin in Texas” I picked up the CD case to see if there’s any information I need to know. At the bottom of the back side of the CD there’s some small print under the bar code, with six letters highlighted in big bold next to it: “WHY BUY.” Who are they fucking kidding with that “why buy” shit, I bought it for Mike Jones and Lil Flip. Reading on: “The hottest names in the Southern Rap, Mike Jones and Lil Flip team up with other hot Southern Rap artists.” It was about this time my iPod had worked all the way through the short “Intro” instrumental and hit track two, a song “Dedicated to the Ballers.” The meaning of these words sunk in as I suddenly realized I knew not a God damn person on the song. Who the hell is Lester Roy? There’s a rapper called Papa Smurf? As ignorant as the typical Mike Jones verse might be, I suddenly felt cheated that I wasn’t listening to his stupid ass holla out his phone number again: “2-8-1, 3-3-oh, 8-zero-zero-fo’.” That’s all it would have taken to make me happy. The beat on the track was generic and uninteresting, so at this point one would have to doubt Jones even PRODUCED this song. The liner notes inside this CD are certainly no help. They don’t tell you who produced what or which songs feature Flip or Jones – it’s just a fucking advertisement for other albums from the BCD Music Group that feature either of the two. The weirdest of them all had to be this: “Hear Mike Jones on the soundtrack from Spike Lee’s _Home Invaders_.” First of all I wasn’t even aware Spike Lee had a movie by that name. Second of all buying a Mike Jones album is a stretch in itself – I’m not going to buy a movie soundtrack just to hear ONE SONG by Jones. Hell it might not even be his song, he might be cameoing on someone else’s. All it says is “hear him on” this soundtrack, not “hear songs BY him.”
The latter would certainly have been a more accurate way to advertise this “Still Tippin in Texas” album. Mike Jones, hear some songs by him, and a bunch of other shit. Actually I’ll go even one further than that: “Mike Jones & Lil Flip: We put their names on this shit so it would sell and the rest of these artists can go to hell.” And really that’s unfair because despite the bullshit first track I was presented with there are actually some big names of the South on this album. Big Pokey, Lil Troy and Will Lean can all be heard on the “Lean to the Right (Remix)” track, which is a fine song in it’s own right with a slow chunky bassline. Mike Jones teams with Magno on “What You Talkin Bout,” although he sounds surprisingly subdued compared to his usual hyperactive delivery and trademark behavior of repeating everything – still a good song though. I’m sure I’ve seen the South Park Mexican and Kid Frost song “Studio Time” on another album, but I have no problem with this track’s hispanic all-star link-up or menacing Dr. Dre style production. The long awaited Lil Flip pay-off comes on a “Flip Freestyle” at track 8, over halfway in:
Cause she gone off that X and that Grey Goose
Plus I’m a pimp hoe, so I can’t pay you
You understand I’m the man
And gettin money is the motherfuckin plan
I’m like a kickstand (why?) cause I’m always leanin
I never do the speed limit so I’m always speedin
And it don’t take much, to make me happy
Cause I been had this shit way before I was rappin
Quit the cappin befo’ I, get to clappin
niggaz kamikaze style and make sure I hit the captain”
Unfortunately that’s about it for Flip or Jones on the album that was otherwise ostensibly credited to them. There’s still some good material on this CD to recommend, including Z-Ro & Trae’s “Life is Cold” and another short freestyle by Flip over Snoop Dogg’s “Beautiful” beat, but BCD Music Group still needs to be called to account on false advertising. Well technically not false advertising, but certainly misleading. This just goes to show why it always pays to read the fine print, even when purchasing rap albums. Mike Jones, I’m still waiting on that new album.