Unfortunately for Flo Rida, the most impressive thing about his new album, “R.O.O.T.S,” is its collection of featured rappers who are more successful than he is. From Ne-Yo to Nelly Furtado, the disc contains a plethora of pop stars who have gotten the same amount, if not more, time on the charts – or at least playtime on KC101. Despite “Right Round,” (which samples Dead or Alive’s ’80s hit “You Spin Me Round”), topping the charts for almost two weeks straight and surpassing two million in sales for the single alone, “R.O.O.T.S” is grounded in nothing but an empty, abstract idea of what good hip hop might be.
If you are looking for a quality music listening experience, you will be disappointed by “R.O.O.T.S'” generic beats and forgettable lyrics. However, you will definitely hear “Right Round” at least twice per night at any New Haven nightclub, and it’s hard to argue any other reason as to why this album was made. Despite the Miami rapper’s attempt at seriousness, (the album was made after an eye-opening trip to poverty-stricken areas of Africa, and R.O.O.T.S stands for Routes Of Overcoming The Struggle), the disc displays nothing more than songs for partying.
However, the Miami rapper does do something right on “R.O.O.T.S” – and that’s leaving the sampled tracks, like “You Spin Me Round,” alone. Although placed in an awkward context and given a minor lyrical change, the content of Dead or Alive’s original chorus is mostly kept the same for Flo Rida’s track. This also goes for “Sugar,” featuring Wynter, which samples Eiffel 65’s techno hit, “Blue (Da Ba Dee).” The track “Mind On My Money” is probably the most farfetched from the song it samples, yet is still recognizable enough to give Flo a leg up.
The tracks are laced with hyperactive dance/techno beats that, at first, seem like they could turn out okay, (the intro to “Shone” feat. Pleasure P is promising), but soon weaken when each track’s beat sounds too much like the next. The hollow, yet blunt, lyrics add to the overall forgettable experience, such as the line “let me put your number on my iPhone” from “Available” featuring Akon. The album-titled track, “R.O.O.T.S” is probably the mellowest on the album, but is still kept too bouncy – (this time with a Southern-infused dance beat) – to be taken seriously. Even if Flo Rida is a talented rapper, we will never know it unless he starts delivering in a less generic way. Until then, Flo will stick to topping the digital-sale charts, (he has been dubbed “Ringtone Rapper”), and soon fizzle out when the next standard sound comes along.