Kid Ink has always struck me as somebody who strives to do things bigger and better than his peers. Oh you got tattoos? I got a hundred tattoos. Oh you got a club banger? I got an album’s worth of club bangers. Oh you got bars? I got bar… maybe not. Except Kid Ink isn’t a bad rapper, he just knows the lane he has chosen and how to craft hot singles.
“Full Speed” comes near enough twelve months after his second LP “My Own Lane”, an album I enjoyed for what it was – accessible, sexual nightclub music that names such as Chris Brown and DJ Mustard are now well versed in. Both featured on last year’s record and both return, but the guestlist this year has had a bit more money thrown at it. R. Kelly and Usher turn in two of the best performances on the album, overshadowing Kid Ink in the process. It’s further proof however, that you could be singing about the latest IS killing and it would have the masses shaking their asses if Mustard was on the beat (hoe).
R. Kelly’s appearance on “Dolo” is another track about hooking up with a lady, albeit one that is on her own. It’s a little bit sinister, but then so is the first single “Body Language”. Lyrically it’s pure trash (and largely misogynistic), but you’ll not be bothered when you’re singing along with Usher. The backing vocals from Tinashe weren’t really necessary, but I guess it’s another big name to add to the track-listing. “Hotel” is essentially Chingy’s “Holidae Inn” dressed up with a killer Chris Brown hook. Yet again, it encourages infidelity, something Chris has become a spokesperson for, as he asks why a female (presumably) is looking at him and his girlfriend. Of course, he then prompts them to take the staring contest to a local hotel, where further staring can ensue in the lobby. This would make sense, given the album cover, but of course I’m joking. It’s a predictably glossy single about sex and “Full Speed” is largely little more than that.
“Every City We Go” is about getting laid and then moving on to the next city. “POV” is about finding a woman willing to give blowjobs all night long (POV being the Point of View style of filming them). Good luck with that one, Kid. DJ Mustard nails another track with “About Mine”, one of his heavier contributions that proves his minimalist style hasn’t got tiresome just yet. I don’t want to pay him too many condiments, but this record shows that it will be a while until his copycats ketchup. Ignoring horrible food puns for a second, this track emphasizes the need to get money, in order to get laid. This explains how the “POV” track could work.
Of course, I’m not saying that all women should be an Aung San Suu Kyi, this is music to get down and dirty with. It’s just shocking to find that it took nine people to write “About Mine”. Trey Songz is even overshadowed by Mustard’s beat, choosing to hide behind Kid Ink’s rhymes. While the rhymes are typically ignorant, I did enjoy the “life is a bitch, crazier than Kelis” line. Perhaps the most interesting song is “Round Here”, which is harder than Kid Ink’s dick was when he wrote this album. Key Wane laces Kid with a thick, dark beat that you’d expect Jeezy to use on one of his mixtapes. It’s suitably intimidating, as Kid Ink refers to himself as D-Bo on the hook (a reference to the film Friday). It’s not clear why a scrawny kid is comparing himself to a hench-thug, but who’s listening to the lyrics, right?
The problem with “Full Speed” is that it doesn’t maintain the same level of excellence that the big name singles do. It isn’t that long ago that a 70 minute album was the norm, but this feels too long at a mere 50. That’s not good, but also a sign that this album is nothing more than a bunch of explicit radio singles. Slip some adverts in between them (Spotify style) and you’ve got an hour of decent, if predictable commercial Hip Hop. The problem with “Full Speed” is that Kid Ink is often lost within his own album, as the listener anticipates the next song that’s defined by its guest feature. The one time it does work with Kid Ink on his own (or dolo) is “Round Here”, but it sounds completely alien against the other tracks where he’s bragging about flashing cash to get some pussy. It’s a shame that he has picked this lane, because while it will reap financial rewards, it doesn’t really let Kid Ink build his own identity.