The discography of Fabolous is a mess. “There Is No Competition 2” comes after “Loso’s Way” but before “The Young OG Project.” That part I’ve got down. The problem is that there’s no album called “There Is No Competition 1.” Oh there’s a mixtape, that’s for sure, but “There Is No Competition 2” is also billed as one on its cover, even though it was sold through retail stores by Desert Storm/Def Jam Records. It even had an official single and accompany music video produced by Ryan Leslie, DJ Clue and Kid Cudi called “You Be Killin Em.”

What’s even more odd is that most sources list “No Competition 2” as an EP, although at 10 tracks and 30 minutes long it tops a lot of “albums” that dropped in the last five years. If you found the difference between mixtape and retail to be a blurred line before this Fabolous release, you’d definitely need a pair of bifocals afterward. I’m going to add another twist to this mix though — I don’t even think “You Be Killin Em” is the best song here. If I was going to drop a single to promote this project whether it’s a mixtape, EP or album, I would have made it the Jahlil Beats produced “Tonight” featuring Red Cafe. It’s night and day better than its own “competition.”

I love the Jigga samples on it, but I’m also intrigued by the female voice heard before the outro. The only thing I could find about her is that her name is Lorel. That’s it. No other credits. It makes me wonder if this was somebody Desert Storm or Def Jam was positioning to be the new female rap star, only to change their mind and pull the plug right at the jump. Anyway if you know F-A-B-O-L-O-U-S you know he’s got that Brooklyn drawl and a penchant for punchlines like those heard on “I’m Raw” — ranging from “Suspect as R. Kelly with Girl Scout cookies” to “Big money on deck like A-Rod’s next at bat.” It can be overkill at times so you either love it or hate it.

More often than not I fall into the “I’m a fan” category, because there’s a charm to the almost stoned sounding way he spits bars. What’s funny though is how the same producer can both understand what makes him effective and then completely miss the mark. “Body Ya” and “Body Count” are both produced by Sonaro, and the former succeeds by being an up-tempo energetic horn affair, while latter plods along at a tedious pace and Fab can’t help it with a less than clever hook. “I see dead people/I see dead people/I look in my pockets, and I see dead people.” The Sixth Sense this is not.

Fabolous reportedly said he went back to the studio to record all new music for the version of “There Is No Competition 2” that hit stores, but if that’s true then the other version must be even shorter than this one or have a completely different lineup. I’m going to have to track that one down and see how they compare to see if Fabolous is his own worst competition. “No Comp 2” ultimately feels like exactly what it is — a filler release between bigger Fabolous albums. It’s not a complete waste of time but even a hardcore John David Jackson fan wouldn’t be that mad at having skipped this one.

Fabolous :: There Is No Competition 2: The Grieving Music EP
6Overall Score