Saturday, April 15, 2006

Third Times The...

A lot of artists (especially hip-hop artists) suffer from the "sophomore slump" where the follow-up to a successful debut album is a critical and/or commercial disappointment. This happened to rapper Bubba Sparxxx with his 2003 album Deliverance. This ambitious album combined country and hip-hop in a way that was thoughtful as opposed to silly. The album didn't sell well and as if to add insult to injury, Bubba's label (Timbaland's Beat Club) folded not long after it was released.

Now, he returns with The Charm, his first album on Purple Ribbon Entertainment, the label run by OutKast's Big Boi. With a "new" sound and tight construction, The Charm is indeed the perfect title for Bubba Sparxxx's third album.

The most noticeable difference between The Charm and Bubba's earlier albums is the overall sound. On Dark Days, Bright Nights and Deliverance, Timbaland provided most of the beats. This time around, most of the beats are provided by Organized Noize, the collective that was responsible for much of the production on OutKast's early albums. Their sound is not unfamiliar to Bubba since they produced a few tracks on his previous albums. However, it certainly bears little resemblance to Timbaland's frenetic beats.

One of the refreshing things about The Charm is the way it's constructed. It's been trimmed of all excess stuff as there are no skits or interludes to be found. Also, no filler songs have been added to pad the album's running time. It's simply 11 songs of which most are pretty good.

There are a variety of songs to be found on The Charm. "Ms. New Booty," the album's first single, is a fun piece of fluff from hot producer Mr. Collipark. Bubba addresses everything from his fall from success to white rappers on "Represent" and Big Boi produces the dark "Ain't Life Grand." Frankie J supplies vocals to the pop-inflected love song "Run Away" and Bubba's lyrics keep the song from feeling too sappy.

On "Hey! (A Lil Gratitude)," the song that reunites Bubba with Timbaland, he says "Ain't no excuses/ Just gotta be more the shit." That pretty much sums up Bubba's approach to this album. He doesn't spend time whining about how his last album didn't do as well as it could (or should) have. Instead, he focuses on making good music. While the thoughtfulness and introspection contained on Deliverance are missed, The Charm succeeds in giving listeners a bunch of good songs that they will rarely need to skip. This album should hopefully cement Bubba as an artist that's here to stay and it proves that he still has a lot left to give.

1 comment:

  1. Nice review...Short and sweet...I like it! We miss you at ThaHipHop.Com