New face in Rap: Fabolous, the new Mase

Unless you haven’t turned on MTV or BET, or haven’t listened to the radio in the last five months, you have heard the name Fabolous. The smooth-voiced, laid-back delivery has been music to the ears of rap lovers.
The 21-year old Brooklyn, New York native’s style brings to mind the silky, slow monotone of former Bad Boy prodigy Mase. And a comparison to Mase is nothing to scoff at. His new album is called “Ghetto Fabolous.” It was just released on Elektra Records and produced by DJ’s Clue, Duro, Rockwilder, Just Blaze, Timbaland, among others.
Fabolous first burst into the public view as a guest on Lil Mo’s single, “Superwoman Pt. II,” and has since been heard on various tracks like Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair” and Mariah Carey’s remix of “Last Night A DJ Saved My Life.” His new album is the first solo project for the young rapper. As the first artist signed to DJ Clue’s new Desert Storm subsidiary label, the promotion and energy behind this offering will be virtually endless.
The most recognizable song is the collaboration with Nate Dogg on “Can’t Deny It.” This single has received considerable airplay and is in heavy video rotation. And any video featuring Escalades and Phoenix Suns’ guard Stephon Marbury in it has to be doing something right. Once you’ve got Nate Dogg on your album, you know you’ve finally made it happen.
On certain tracks, Fabolous leaves the jewelry and Escalades behind and raps about something more introspective and important on tracks like “One Day.” The melding of rock and rap on “Keeping It Gangsta” brings new life to a genre that hasn’t given us anything new over the last year or so. There is also thorough production from notables like Rockwilder and the Neptunes.
Unfortunately, most of the album is like everything else on the rap market today. Most of the songs deal with loose women, drugs, booze, the f-word and other repetitively used slang.
The track “Holla Back” seems a little familiar. Oh yeah, I heard it the first time when it was Ja Rule’s classic “Holla Holla.” And his rehashing of Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s “Players Anthem” as his own “Get Right” is nothing compared to the original. Lil’ Cease ought to smack Fab upside the head for this one.
Overall this CD is a very promising start for the young lyricist. There is no doubt that Fabolous possesses the talent necessary to succeed in the rap game. He only needs to find his own style. Once he does that his second offering will no doubt turn heads. If only Mase had stayed around long enough for that.