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Pharrell "In My Mind" [review]

For as much as Pharrell and Chad do for other artists (peep this list), they constantly shit on themselves. Any CD where they are the main attraction (Clones, the N*E*R*D LPs), they seem to take this "I'm gonna do it for dolo" idea, which never seems to work for their nerdcore. P tries to change that for himself, but he forgot that he needs to do more than just create hot beats on his debut solo album, In My Mind. The beats are fire, as you would expect... lush keys, ill drum rolls (one of my fav pieces of this album), tons of percussive flairs, and just dope work with and without samples. For the majority of this album, though, you'd only think that Felonious (??) P has "BAPEstas", "Ice Creams" and fat asses on his mind. That's true for many of his fans and like-minded artists, but with an album title like In My Mind, you'd expect him to spread his wings and take more chances subject-wise.

The initial idea of this album was to craft 7 Hip-Hop tracks and 7 R&B tracks... he does this, but could have made an EP with the amount of same-themed tracks. It's almost as if he remixed "Can I Have It Like That", his snoozer of a pre-single single with Gwen Stefani. While this tune has an intro that sounds like a Dre track, the rolling double-bass is what you want to check for. Of course, he raps "She like the way my hands use her body for hand warmers" is not only vulgar, but unimaginative. If I wanted crass sex lyrics, I'd throw on some Ghostface with his "ping-pong pussy, wild world of wombs" shit. The one thing I noticed, at least with the Rap tracks, is each track starts out the same... the kick/sample hits 4 times or however many times before kicking into the main meat. Why? Who knows. "How Does It Feel?" has a nice live-sounding drum beat to it, with some smooth horn sounds laid over top. P wants to know how it feels to dream about being like him. Thanks for making me feel even worse than I already do about my lack of funds, fucker. And write a better chorus next time. He gets introspective with "Best Friend", which has a very entrancing synth melody to it. He waxes poetic about his family life: losing his grandmother, sticking with his friends and such. Nice until it gets to that odd chorus... it's got random drum fills, key stabs and a thump to it that just doesn't go right. Slim Thug drops in to slob on P with "Keep It Playa", which has a grating keyboard melody. The drums in a lot of these tracks sound live as hell though --- I have no liner notes, so I cannot say if they used a live drummer or not, but it sure sounds like it!

The R&B section starts with "Angel", which sounds like an 8th grade garage band trying to make some hip-hop beats. The initial line "She got an ass like a loaf of bread, you wanna take a slice" sounds like P needs to grow up a bit and come with some stronger lyrics. P then throws 2 songs on one track: "Young Girl", which features Jay-Z rapping about making a 19 yr old his wifey, while P tries to get his Prince on; the 2nd half of this track, "I Really Like You", is the best R&B cut on this whole disc. The whole thing comes together. The music rolls nice, and P sings in that "Frontin'" high pitch, but sounds a lot more relaxed. That's one of the main problems with Skateboard P's singing: in the past, whether it was on choruses or on "Frontin'", the whole selling point on his "voice" was that it didn't sound as if he was trying to be something he isn't. On this disc, neph really wants to be Jamie Foxx or some shit! Nelly drops in on the oddest joint on here, "Baby"... I have no idea wtf he's on about, but the beat is just a sad concoction of a weak guitar riff on top of a beat that sounds like pounding on the lunchtable, but then it morphs into a rip off of that old "Nasty Boy" track from back in the day. P then has the NERVE to get all religious with "Our Father", right after talking about "rolling up a $100 bill" to his "baby". What's that all about?

This album is an album of formulas. The ones that work are the ones that are time tested and, sadly, tired at this point of the game. The beats are dope, but we've heard all of these songs before. The R&B tracks especially are very wishy washy. The fact that the majority of them are intro-verse-chorus-verse-chorus-8 bar "bridge"-reprise is insulting to the true fans, the ones who have followed these dudes since they got big off of "Superthug". You'd expect more than that. Too much rhyming about being iced out and not enough of the introspective stuff IMO. We all know P is not as massive as he tries to put himself out there to be... why keep fronting? And to have a track with Kanye ("Number 1") be possibly the worst piece of shit on this filthy album? Totally insulting... even the bonus track, "Skateboard P Presents Show You How To Hustle", found a way to disappoint me. While I was wanting to hear P let his peeps get down, he spits some tired drug tales that HE ADMITS (mid-track) TO NOT EVEN LIVING! What a fucking waste of the hottest track on here. Head nodding kicks, a seriously sick organ line that switches up for the 7th bar only... whoa. I would have LOVED to hear Clipse, Slim Thug, hell, Snoop and Jay murk this track. And that's the main problem I have with this CD: I would have LOVED to hear this be a compilation, with selected artists doing their thing over each of these beats. I do not want to hear P on any of these, not as the main attraction anyways. Sad but true.

Thing is, that's not what this is about. At the end of the day, P and Chad (who apparently only engineered the beats oslt) want to make loot. Will the consumer purchase this? I've been going back and forth about this... and I'm really on the fence. Given the past lack of sales, I highly fucking doubt it, especially with no real follow up single. I think he might try to work "Angel" or "Take It Off", maybe the joint with Snoop on it, but I just don't see people going crazy for this CD.

rock the dub rating: 5 out of 10 stars. Too much P on the mic, not enough thought/heart on the pad. Maybe next time, Skateboard Pizzle.

Pharrell's In My Mind is in stores July 25th. For more Pharrell info and news, peep his website.
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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

fuck yo blog.

khal said...

LOL to each his own...?

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