By Joe Walker
Eminem Presents The Re-Up
The Re-up suggests a new start, a place where one begins again. For fans of Eminem and his Shady Records’ artists, this was a return to the same old nothing. The production here foils along with most of the performances. 50 Cent, Obie Trice, Stat Quo and Em sound as though they’re just going through the motions, though Quo could have used this opportunity to launch anticipation for his long-delayed debut, Statlanta. New comers Bobby Creekwater and Cashis are unimpressive at best, while producer Alchemist’s mix-tape spin on this compilation’s transitions is the only real highlight here.
Bred 2 Die Born 2 Live
When you’ve got two of the most powerful names in hip hop in your corner – Lil Jon and 50 Cent – how can you lose? Lil Scrappy does his best to make them proud here, but the arrogance of being an Atlanta-based rapper produced by Lil Jon (among other all-star producers) and endorsed by G-Unit made south’s un-crowed prince slack on keeping his kingdom shiny, his songs bump but are lyrically dead. One seems to get the same song over and over. "Money In The Bank" and the remake of "Gangsta, Gangsta" have life.
Terry "Hulk Hogan" Bollea discovered that his daughter, Brooke Ellen, had a natural gift for vocals and instruments. The challenge was finding someone in the recording industry to discover her talents. Enter multi-platinum producer Scott Storch. The results of his findings and Brooke’s potential can be found here, on her debut pop offering that remains pretty solid throughout. Plagued by teen themes of prepubescent love, partying and the flash of nice vehicles and trinkets are properly offset by Scorch’s production and proper arrangements of Brooke’s wavy pitch range. "Love You, Hate You," "For A Moment" and "Dance Alone," among others, are worth looking in to.
Convicted of a crime that cost him years of freedom, producer/songwriter/singer Akon convinced an audience of his peers he was guilty of turning his mistakes into R&B songs of encouragement. Here on his second sentence – his sophomore LP – Akon’s creativity was suspended. "Don’t Matter" reminds of his chart-topping single "Lonely" and he re-teams with rapper Styles P on "Blown Away" attempting to re-create the magic from their mega hit "Locked Up." Possessing one of the most unique voices in R&B today, along with top notch writing and vocal arrangement, Akon shouldn’t relay on past works, hip hop cameos and club trends and gimmicks to convict ones to listen.