A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the sampler for this album, which included “Stunna Shades” and “Wasted!!,” and found both quite lacking. To echo the problem – only somewhat ameliorated by another 10 tracks of the same – intelligent, subtle, and well-crafted ‘floss,’ club, or party music is hard to come by, mostly because to be intelligent, subtle, and well-crafted, this music at least needs a pretense to something higher than mindlessness and danceability. Something must differentiate one artist from another. If not, why should anyone care?
And that’s the issue: C.B.Y.A. just don’t have any distinction, except, perhaps, for goofiness and respectable flows. In the “Intro,” the first two rappers indicate what they’re after – money. Not quality, or anything similarly useless, but… well, it’s revealing. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this, but, again, I have to judge the product as music, not a social phenomenon, or else ‘taste’ intrudes. “Tonight!!,” for example, is enjoyable, with a ‘nice’ sample, ‘happy’ keyboards, and quick, start-stop flows. It’s definitely better than “Stunna Shades,” but the question iswhy – and the answer, already given, is superficial. It sounds bubbly, but isn’t memorable, sarcastic, or multi-layered, musically or otherwise, unlike the best of this particular genre. It just sounds good in the basest way possible.
“Weather Man” has a slightly novel concept of rappers as weather men, but is completely undeveloped, and musically dull: a ‘comical’ keyboard, which is at least punctuated by occasionally funny lines and flows. Again, it’s a bit cutesy, but that’s it. By the time we get to “Cruisin,” it’s obvious the production is virtually the same, and, even worse, the rap gimmicks, too. The rappers are still exchanging the same interchangeable verses, alternating drawn out flows with vocals, but, a couple of tracks into the album, it’s already quite predictable. “Packin Da 4” begins quite minimalist – that is, the variety is interesting – but soon melts into the rest of the album. A good idea is rejected for SAFETY, the norm in mediocre efforts.
“Don’t Leave” features a generic titular vocal, stereotypical ‘smooth’ production, slowed down – it’s obvious – to create a ‘love track’ for the club, a requisite for such a group. But, there’s no reason to like this – love songs are hard enough to pull off, but, in the hands of C.B.Y.A., every imaginable platitude is here. “Best Ain’t Enough” closes the album, a better track since it actually attempts a concept, and does so consistently. I don’t mean that it’s good – meaning, ‘lyrically profound,’ or ‘musically creative,’ or ‘memorable’ in some other way – but it’s at least positioned well as the final song, and enjoyable. Not good, but ‘enjoyable’ – the objective, really, of music that does not aspire to much. C.B.Y.A. are downright mediocre in the sampler – here, they’re actually fun, but that’s it.