Pull a hammer like a camera/ you don’t wanna face a flash
Cause you’ll lose one of your sons and there’s no replacing Nash
– For the Love
Fabolous has been a staple in mainstream hip-hop for almost all of the 21st century. After making five studio albums, including classic songs such as ‘Can’t Deny It’ and ‘Breathe,’ Fabolous has released two mixtapes in the last year and a half, both worthy of recognition and critical acclaim. The original S.O.U.L. Tape was inspired by Fabolous’ cover of Kanye West’s ‘Devil In A New Dress,’ and features Fabolous using his smooth Brooklyn flow to dismantle a number of “soulful” beats. The Soul Tape 2 follows the same framework, and with the likes of Joe Budden, J Cole, Pusha T, Teyana Taylor, Trey Songz, Cassie, and Wale riding shotgun on this tape, Fabolous is free to revive his clever lyricism.
Having hustled himself out of the “rags” portion of his life, Fab is now able to enjoy the proverbial “riches” and proceeds to dispense lyrical wisdom on nearly every track about the game, women, love, money, and in general being the man. He’s clearly comfortable with his life experiences, and this confidence help his opinions come off as the authentic thoughts of a man who has stood the test of time in the business. His emotional reflections churn out some of the best bars and give him a chance to vent about past relationships. On the final track of The Soul Tape 2, he goes after a woman who spurned him while using the Chicago Bull’s star guard Derrick Rose as the vehicle for his metaphor.
Now if I was guarding Derrick Rose I would be more understanding, but you ain’t Derrick Rose
You was my number one but um you ain’t Derrick Rose
You tryna make a point again/ you ain’t Derrick Rose
You just on some Bull shit/ bitch, you ain’t Derrick Rose
-Want You Back
These bars act as a great example of the consistency Fabolous has been able to display over the course of his career. Loso has been slept on for years; his structured and patient, yet creative flow stands in direct contrast to the “based” or “trap” rap that has taken root in the industry. There is a time and place for trap rap; even Fab can’t resist creating catchy bangers like ‘B.I.T.E.’ on the second installment, but his lyrics still never disappoint.
While the tape as a whole is very impressive, I must admit I am still partial to the original tape. With it he released an unheard Wayne verse from an ’09 mixtape on ‘That’s Not Love,’ enlisted the help of fellow New York MC’s Lloyd Banks and Vado on an ode to their respective boroughs, and croons some slow bars for the ladies on ‘In The Morning’ and ‘Slow Down.’ Look no further than the opening lines of the first song, ‘Pain,’ on the first S.O.U.L. Tape to see proof of why Fabolous still has gas for the masses and will continue to produce heat for the foreseeable future.
Old enough to know better, young enough to not give a fuck
Rather hold my head high and die, than live and duck
If your cool with being taken down or giving up, your life style’s a blowjob
Your way of living sucks
Soul Tape 1: here
Soul Tape 2: here
For your additional listening pleasure I have included the newly released extended version of J Cole’s contribution to ‘Louis Vutton‘. The original can be found on the second Soul Tape.